Wall Street and financial analysts like to focus on next quarter’s profits and losses. But such an approach is not always the best way to run a business for the long term, affirmed Richie Whitt, co-chief executive officer of Markel Corp.

Executive Summary

Short-term thinking has no place in the strategic planning process at Markel Corp., according to Co-CEO Richie Whitt, who describes the lessons the company learned from an earlier acquisition that ultimately solidified the company's international presence and a recent deal to take Markel into the ILS space.

With longer-term strategic planning—five and even 10 years into the future—Markel is aiming to build “an enduring organization…a company that’s built to last versus a company that’s built to sell,” said Whitt in an interview.

“That’s the goal for our organization, and that’s how we would define success. We want to grow the book value per share at Markel, at high rates of return, over long periods of time,” he said. “That’s our main metric on which we’re compensated and how we measure our financial performance.”

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