An interview with David Priebe, president and chief executive officer of Guy Carpenter Europe.
Choose five adjectives to describe yourself. Passionate, driven, honest, modest and even-tempered.
Which historical figure do you most admire and why?Two people came to mind – Martin Luther King and Bill Gates. Though the two are very different people both had a vision and commitment. They inspired others and gave of themselves to benefit others. And they are/were community-minded and really tried to make a difference in the world.
Who in this industry do you most admire and why?The person that immediately comes to mind is Frank Tasco, who was the chairman and CEO of Guy Carpenter and then MMC Companies. He was very motivated and took an honest interest in people; that included clients, markets and, no less importantly, our colleagues. He also had a clear focus and great vision.
Outside of this industry what issue are you most passionate about?My family. I spend the vast majority of my time focused on work and travelling. My constant passion and the place where I spend my free time is my family. I also care a lot about the environment we live in.
What qualities do you most admire in other people?Integrity and follow-through, someone who is a multi-dimensional thinker, is fun and open, and who is receptive to various points of view.
What qualities do you most dislike in other people?People who are self-promoting, shallow, lazy and dishonest.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you started in this industry?I really don't think there's anything I know now that I wish I'd known when I started (25 years ago) because there is the constant opportunity to learn – and its one of the things I most love about this industry. There's always change and new challenges and opportunities for learning and growth. It's what makes this business great.
What was the last thing that completely surprised you?It's not really a surprise but there is a greater awareness of the magnitude of risk within the world and our industry. Probably the most recent surprise was that the Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers!
How do you unwind at the end of the day?I don't unwind until I fall asleep. When I get the chance I love playing a round of golf with my children and ice hockey with friends, which is just great therapy.
What motivates you on a Monday morning?It's not a drag to come in on a Monday. What gets me going is focusing on how we can move our firm forward. I take a deep breath and get back into it.
Whose job would you most like to have and why?It isn't really a job, but I wouldn't mind being my children, or rather being a student again. Boy I wish I could put myself back in those shoes where I could soak in the issues of the world around us and develop greater appreciation and respect for other people and other cultures. Other than that, I can't turn back time and I'm pretty excited about the opportunities I currently have.
What is your biggest regret?I have a phenomenal family and I regret that I don't have as much time as I'd like or need with them. This job and this industry demands a lot and trying to find the balance between business and personal life is a constant challenge.
What are you most proud of having achieved?I'm pretty proud of what we've achieved at Guy Carpenter and being one of the architects of that process, particularly in evolving the company from what was a silo structure into working as unified teams.
What factors have enabled you to get where you are today? Focus, hard work, a constant desire to find new ways to achieve goals and perhaps most importantly, my ability to transition – to hand things over and give way to others so they can grow. That allows me to grow too and to take on new challenges.