How do you manage the pace of change? Understanding this, and knowing how to implement carefully thought-out transformation initiatives has become a necessity for Tim Gokey in running a S&P 500 FinTech firm.
Gokey recalls the first time he came across this notion when he worked at McKinsey in the late 1980s and 1990s within the customer data and analytics practice. The experienced played a major part in shaping his leadership philosophy.
“Of the 24 firms I worked with [at McKinsey], six do not exist today, while others tried to change too fast and it bounced off the surface,” says Gokey. “When thinking about change, you have to set a goal that is ambitious enough but ensure you are doing it a pace that can be absorbed by the organisation. That has affected my leadership with Broadridge and the clients we work with.”
Gokey joined the Broadridge as chief development officer in 2010, which at the time, was headed by Rich Daly. “I saw a huge opportunity around industry solutions for critical, but non-differentiating functions. That has turned out to be incredibly true,” he adds.
Since joining the technology firm, it has gone from having 3000 associates with a $3 billion market cap to an almost 12000-strong team and $13 billion in market cap, strongly suggesting the idea of building utility solutions has resonated with the industry.
In 2012, Gokey was named COO of global technology and operations, and then five years later, appointed president. During this period, he was involved in some of Broadridge’s biggest projects with its largest clients, and while many of these were successful, not all were smooth.
“We had a situation a number of years ago when our platform, that many people depended on, went through a series of performance enhancements. We had deep discussions with one of our largest clients, and really dug in over a period of 18 months in terms of deep reengineering to take the resiliency of the platform to the next level,” Gokey explains.
“It was an example of when things are not right, you have to take it head on and really dig in. We ended up with a much deeper relationship with that client, largely because of the tenacity of working through issues.”
Some of the most notable initiatives Gokey has been a part of include the creation of a new unit to lead Broadridge’s international expansion across all business lines in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as making huge strides with solutions for proxy voting and repo agreements using blockchain technology.
Gokey adds that the firm is currently undergoing a project to build a global post-trade platform, as well as helping firms meet upcoming regulations such as the Shareholders Rights Directive. But despite these regulatory and technological challenges, he ties it back in with his belief on how to handle change.
“Everyone is talking about how the pace [of change] feels very accelerated and that is true, but at the same time, when people involved, it does not happen overnight. Being ambitious about change, and ambitious of the end-state, but then being methodical of how to get there that can be ingested by clients, associates, and regulators is the art of transformation,” he highlights.
Thinking about the next 10 years and how he will lead the FinTech giant, Gokey believes this notion of change will be continuous as the firm looks for more substantive ways to help its global clients. The implementation of next-gen technologies will very much depend on this, and whether it is artificial intelligence, blockchain, or cloud computing, they will have to solve real challenges for the industry.
“When talking about the need for industry solutions and the scope of that, we look at that as a $40 billion market opportunity. It is about seeing multiple of the new big solutions getting traction and making an impact for the industry,” he says.