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Metro Business Thought Leadership

Invesco’s Marty Flanagan Shares Thoughts on Leadership and the Next Generation

By Cameron Adcock

The Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Delta Air Lines Insights on Leadership series assembles leaders from the region’s internationally recognized brands including The Home Depot, AT&T, Coca-Cola and more. This month, Insights on Leadership featured Marty Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco since 2005.

Invesco is one of the world’s largest investment management firms, with $1.2 trillion in assets under management and offices in 25 countries, with headquarters in Atlanta. Flanagan previously served with Franklin Resources and Templeton, Galbraith & Hansberger, LTD. He currently serves as the Chamber’s 2020 chair. 

On Developing Company Culture

“[With Invesco’s acquisition of OppenheimerFunds] It’s not the math, it’s not about how beautiful the charts are – that’s important. It’s all about the culture. We’re a people business, we manage people’s money and we have an obligation to take care of clients first.”

“About five years ago, we did some work to understand the purpose of the firm – why do we exist. What we learned is that we come to better decisions because of the different views in the room. Three years ago, if you looked at gender globally for our firm, 25% of our senior leaders were women. We publicly stated that we want to get that up to 30-40%, and we’re now at 32%.” 

On the Next Generation

“One of the traits [of the next generation] is that they tend not to stay with one organization for very long. That’s very different from what Invesco is used to. We spend a lot of time creating an environment where we offer specific programs in rising leadership and peer mentoring.”

“The bulk of the [new] ideas don’t come from me and the leadership team. It’s the [next-generation] group of people. This year, my executive team and I are going to get mentored by this group.”

“[On the change in culture today] People today are more willing to give advice naturally to individuals, and young individuals are more willing to ask the questions.”

On the Metro Atlanta Business Community

“The Atlanta startup community is really exciting. It’s a unique ecosystem: the depth of the corporate community willing to dive in, combined with the universities. Atlanta will be the leader of venture startups in the next few years.”

On Invesco and Current Events 

“[On hiring new Invesco Deputy Chief Financial Officer Allison Dukes] I get involved with many senior hires at the firm. By the time I’m talking to them, I know they’re smart, I know they’re talented and I know they can make a difference, so it’s literally a conversation of culture. I’m thrilled Allison is joining us, and I have no doubt she is going to make a great impact.”

“For us as a business, geo-politics has really impacted business like never before in my career. It’s always been out there, but it’s material. You can talk about the divide in this country, and it manifests itself in pressure on money managers. Brexit was a very challenging situation for us, and trade wars in China really slowed us down. I don’t think business has dealt with geo-political issues in such a specific way, and it’s a new skill for organizations to figure out.”

On Mentorship

“I was fortunate to work for a man named John Templeton. If you follow the money management industry, he’s probably one of the greatest corporate investors ever. What I learned from him was a very simple thing: he cared about people a lot, he cared about the culture of people.”

“Through your career, you rise for a set of things you do, but at a certain stage, you have to change the set of skills that you have. I find it’s about bringing the team along and bringing the best thoughts out of them. If you want to make sure you don’t do that, just make all the decisions and do everything in a vacuum. The point is empowering people by listening to them.” 

For more on the Delta Air Lines Insights on Leadership series, visit https://www.metroatlantachamber.com/


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