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Follow the Leader - Stewart Morris, Jr.
Stewart Information Services Corporation is truly a powerhouse, offering a wide range of products and services serving the entire globe. Even during the challenging market conditions of the recent past (and present), Stewart has managed to thrive. One of the people who was previously responsible for this success is Stewart Morris, Jr. On the heels of the announcement that he was appointed to the American Land Title Association (ALTA) Board of Governors, we sat down with Mr. Morris to learn more about his strategies, philosophies, and predictions.   RE Technology: What did you do to help your company weather the storm of the down market?   Stewart Morris, Jr.: This was a dramatic, protracted downturn. It has been a character-builder, to say the least, for many people. My strategy for being successful in this environment can be boiled down to two key points:   Cutting expenses. We reduced our affiliate office network and our overall headcount by about 50% in order to achieve a reduction in expenses. At the same time, we were consolidating our back-office services in order to be more efficient. Building sales. We created a Sales Council to look at every market we were in, highlight the major markets, and focus on growing our number of customers, as well as the revenue from our customers. We worked on growing business that would thrive in the new market conditions; Stewart Lender Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of Stewart Title, is a central component of this. In this way, while one side of our business was shrinking, another side was growing nicely.