“Leaders have a responsibility to their clients and shareholders to be prepared by hiring smart people and investing in secure and robust technologies.” John M. Perry
Forbes Councils is a new and innovative network of organizations for world-class business professionals, who can utilize the Councils’ blogs and forums to discuss and solve pressing business challenges with their peers, share their insights via thought leadership articles on Forbes.com, and more.
The Forbes Finance Council is the first of many industry-specific communities expected to launch under the Forbes Councils umbrella. An invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning, and wealth management firms, members are leaders from world-class financial companies, each bringing a wealth of experience to the table.
In September 2016, John M. Perry, Bluefin’s CEO, was extended an invitation to join the Forbes Finance Council.
We are pleased to share this week’s Forbes Finance Council Member Spotlight featuring John below. The full article can also be seen on the Forbes Finance Council website.
John M. Perry is the CEO of Bluefin Payment Systems, the leading provider of secure payment technology for retailers, enterprises and small to medium-sized businesses. Bluefin offers cutting-edge payment technology that follows a holistic approach to data security.
How did your career as a finance executive take off, and what do you attribute your success to most?
Over the past 20 years my career has been focused on specializing in sales, marketing and business development in small, mid-size and large companies in the US and internationally. I have been fortunate to have been placed in several roles where I was able to demonstrate my ability to grow companies’ revenue in a profitable and sustainable manner across multiple and complex product platforms. Some of my past positions include Chairman of Spectrum, an independent electronic bill-payments company; President of NOVA Information Systems, a US Bancorp company and executive positions with First Data, Visa USA and Wells Fargo Bank.
I graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in engineering and a few years later earned a degree in Executive Masters in Management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. I cannot imagine two more different institutions, but in my career they were very complementary. In the first few years after graduating from West Point, I took every opportunity to learn as much as I could and volunteered for challenging leadership positions as they presented themselves in the tank battalion where I was assigned as an active duty Army officer.
When I left the Army nine years later, I began my civilian career as a marketing manager at Wells Fargo Bank. I had a terrific boss who helped me get my bearings in the business world. He continues to be the best mentor of my career and took the time to help me understand how to conduct business within a very big organization. I had the opportunity to work for him several more times at different sized organizations, including those which were owned by private equity firms. He had a big impact on my future success in the various sales and marketing positions I held and later as a CEO.
How do you keep yourself motivated and driven by your work, regardless of how busy you are day to day?
I enjoy staying engaged with Bluefin employees and customers and I appreciate their honest feedback. Feedback helps our organization become better in many ways, whether it is adopting new technology trends, providing customer service insight, or dealing with employee concerns. I try to keep a pulse on our 100 Bluefin employees and more than 16,000 customers by doing employee roundtables and client one-on-ones. When possible, I also take the opportunity to engage in public speaking, which allows me to showcase Bluefin and its many security solutions.
What do you see as the future of the financial world?
I believe that compliance and regulatory intrusiveness will continue to lead to a high degree of uncertainty in the business world. However, we are now seeing a different type of deep uncertainty across all industries in the form of data breaches. Our company, Bluefin, has been able to take advantage of that trend and the need to secure financial payment technologies in nearly all sectors, be it a call center, a hospital, or a university. We devalue the data for our clients such that if they are hacked, there is nothing of value to be stolen.
What is your best finance-related tip for businesses?
Businesses need to have a clear technology and employee plan to secure their clients’ critical and personal information. Companies of all sizes should plan for a data breach of some kind, because it will happen at some point. Company leadership should not wait for the breach to happen. Those leaders have a responsibility to their clients and shareholders to be prepared by hiring smart people and investing in secure and robust technologies.