Member Spotlight | Ben Murphy

Director, Strategy & Transformation, KUBRA, an operating subsidiary of Hearst Corporation

 ACG WI Member Since: 2022


Ben Murphy, KUBRA

Why did you join ACG?
I joined ACG for a number of reasons but most notably to support my work at KUBRA while also gaining professional development and networking opportunities.  As it relates to my current role, I own responsibility for identifying new growth verticals and market segments, in particular those undergoing digital transformation where KUBRA could apply its leadership in customer experience, payments and billing.  Being a part of ACG has helped me to keep a pulse on deal activity and potential targets in these segments. In terms of professional development, I am a constant learner and am always looking to acquire knowledge and best practices in areas around corporate development and M&A.  I find the mix of in-persons events and virtual webinars to be very useful in this regard.

What lessons have you learned during the pandemic that you think you will carry over in the long term?
I have a tendency to reflect back on prior events to try to recall what my mindset and logic was when making decisions. When I reflect on the pandemic what I think about most are the wild swings in terms of market extremes and investor emotions. Pre-pandemic there was collective market euphoria, which then turned to doom and gloom at the onset of the pandemic, then back to reopening euphoria, and then to the existing market selloff and valuation reductions. Within the fintech and payments industry that I operate within, up until recently there was a lot of pressure for organizations (strategics, VCs, cross-over funds, etc.) to chase the headlines, whether that be investing in crypto or unprofitable digital banking providers. The lesson I look to apply over the long run is to stay rational and focused across both the highs and lows, distinguishing short-term market noise from long-term market trends. Maintaining discipline in terms of capital allocation and strategic focus becomes much more critical in periods of market uncertainty.

What do you think are the biggest challenges your industry will face in the next 5 years, and what actions is your business taking to position it for success in the future?
The value chain in financial services will continue to be redistributed across new business models and players including front-end customer experience platforms (e.g. Apple), new channels (e.g. IoT, metaverse) and infrastructure (e.g. cloud, blockchain.)  The challenge for incumbents is to understand where to play and where they can add differentiated value.  To ensure future success we are gaining deeper market knowledge in order to develop a long-term market thesis that will inform our “where to play” and “how to win”.

What do you like to do for fun?
I have three kids all under six years old so my fun is coaching soccer, attending sporting events and getting out on the golf course when I can. I’m hoping to get back to more cooking as the kids are becoming more self-sufficient.

What is the best book you have read this past year?
I really enjoyed “The World For Sale”, which provided an incredible view into the history of commodities trading.


Ben Murphy