"We have a lot of really great hiring opportunities right now," chief financial officer Douglas Howell told a teleconference with investors and analysts. "If we can pick up some nice teams, we're going to do that."
Gallagher has increased its margins sufficiently through the pandemic era and has a strong enough margin outlook to merit spending to capture market, fund investments and continue the M&A drive, officials told the conference.
"If we got good people to pick up and good analytic needs to invest in, we’re going to do it," chief executive officer Patrick Gallagher (pictured) concurred.
At the expected organic growth rate of nearly 8 percent across Gallagher businesses in 2022, Howell sees additional margin expansion and plenty of room vis-a-vis the cash pile and new cash flows for investments.
But investment could proceed even if organic growth fell short. Following two years of "maybe holding back some of the investments" while still expanding margin, investments would still look justified even if organic growth fell towards 6 percent, leaving margin “flattish,” he said, with possible caveat for the need to investigate the cause of any such growth shortfall.
Gallagher will be making up, in part, for "some breakage" in Willis Re teams after the acquisition from Willis Towers Watson, officials admitted. That deal closed December 1 and post-deal head-counting is apparently not complete, comments suggested.
"Yes, there was some breakage," one official told the teleconference. "Not very substantial ... a team here, a team there."
Arthur J Gallagher, Hiring, Growth plan, Douglas Howell, Patrick Gallagher, Insurance, Brokerage, Global