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PROFILE: Airmic deputy chair Tim Murray

Tim Murray, director of enterprise risk, Serco
Tim Murray, director of enterprise risk, Serco

The skills needed for successful risk management in today's business environment are very different from those traditionally associated with the profession, according to Airmic's deputy chair Tim Murray. He is putting his views into practice in his own day job.​

Tim is Director of Enterprise Risk at Serco, the FTSE 250 provider of public services, a role  that he says reflects the journey the company are on. “The entire risk cycle including the identification, analysis, monitoring, reporting, mitigation and transfer of risk all come under my team’s remit,” he explains.

Under the umbrella of the Legal and Governance function, as well as bringing the once-separate functions of Risk, Compliance and Insurance under one roof, his department works closely with other related functions including Legal, Audit, Finance, and divisional counterparts. His new role is part of a long-term joining up of the different components of risk, the eventual destination being a completely integrated ERM strategy across the company which manages a very wide variety of B2G operations across Defence, Justice & Immigration, Transport, Health & Citizens services across UK & Europe, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

"Ultimately, what we're aiming for is fully embedded risk management and a culture that recognises risk as a concept that helps to create opportunities," he says. We are progressing our corporate journey under a clear mandate from the top to ensure that our approach to risk management is a business enabler & at the forefront of our business decision making.   

Tim believes that this has to be the way forward if risk management is to remain relevant in the new era, and that it will require different skills from those traditionally associated with the profession. "Insurance is a very important tool in the risk management armoury, but the days are numbered when the insurance manager alone morphed into head of risk," he says.

He recognises the importance of insurance qualifications, but sees legal, finance and, perhaps above all, people skills as every bit as valuable. "The risk manager needs to be able to speak with authority at senior executive and board level and then roll up his or her sleeves and work effectively with people on the ground," he says. His own CV bears out his approach.

After obtaining a law degree, he spent much of his early career as a chartered loss adjuster in the commercial sector. He believes this to have been a great grounding for his current role, as it brought insurance qualifications and experience as well as a wider understanding of business. He later spent 20 years in various risk and insurance roles with Shell, including a 4-year secondment to Canada building and integrating a team to carry out a wider risk function, which in many ways was a forerunner to his current role.

While insurance will continue to be a very important part of the association's remit for the foreseeable future, he believes strongly that ERM has to be the direction of travel. "Insurance is invaluable, but it is not the be-all and end-all… it should be a tactical and strategic element of a company's overall strategic risk mitigation."

He strongly supports what John Ludlow and Julia Graham are doing - unsurprising since his approach is very much in line with the changes that Airmic has made over the past year, which push the association into the risk space. He appreciates what they have been doing to encourage a change of mindset, including the Academies and other support and training Airmic offers to help members acquire new skills and insights and to develop their careers.

So, broadly speaking, expect more of the same when he takes over as chair next summer. If anything, he feels the pace should be faster. "I would like Airmic to take the lead in defining what risk management will mean in the future, to answer the question: what does a risk management career look like? There's a void out there, and we have the thought leadership capability to fill it. If we don't, someone else will."