Kahl Betham, Gallagher.

Gallagher’s deputy chief executive and executive director Kahl Betham said Gallagher was stronger as a team and that COVID-19 has sped up “everything to do with digital”.

“In the last downturn our security business was probably only a third of the size it is now,” Betham told NZH. “We decided through that downturn to make a couple of our platforms go faster and as a result we’ve had exceptional, highly profitable and exponential growth in the last 4 years.”

Betham said this decision put Gallagher in “a great position” to respond to the latest economic downturn and pursue the opportunities a crisis offers.

“We said from the beginning we have to look after the health and wellbeing of people – as we always do – but we have to balance that with looking after the long-term stability and interests of the business,” Betham told NZH.

COVID-19 has sped things up in the digital world.

According to Betham, Gallagher feels stronger as a team because of having to pull together in the face of COVID-19 – the effort included Gallagher’s IT people providing working capability for 800 people almost overnight and the quick release of the company’s proximity and contact tracing report.

“That’s been really important,” Betham said. “We’ve seen everybody coming together when there’s been an ask…people have opted in. The whole executive has really galvanised around this lesson in inspiration-led leadership. You learn to lean on your culture when you need it in tough times and that’s really shone through.”