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Owens Corning CFO shares management insights

Published: 2014-04-07

Michael McMurray

Drawing on more than two decades of finance experience, Michael McMurray of Owens Corning recently shared with students at Fisher his insights on topics ranging from the lessons learned from leading two internationally known companies to successfully competing in the global marketplace.

McMurray, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Owens Corning, spent nearly an hour taking questions from undergraduate students as part of Fisher’s Leaders & Legacy Speaker Series.

“Having good relationships within a company and being able to use those relationships to get things done is very important,” he said. “But it’s also important that when you’re a global company with 15,000 people in 27 different countries, you have certain processes and protocols in place that enhance and support those relationships. I’m fortunate to have worked at companies where both of these philosophies were utilized. At Owens Corning, we’re trying to find our sweet spot between the two.”

Prior to arriving at Owens Corning in 2008, McMurray spent more than 20 years with Royal Dutch Shell, often living and working abroad in markets like China. Now, as CFO of the Toledo-based producer of building materials, McMurray oversees the finances of a company that completed $5.3 billion in global sales last year.

McMurray also offered career advice to future business leaders and entrepreneurs who might be eager to make a splash as a startup or small business.

“Know your market and be disciplined in your analytics – where you’re going to invest and grow next,” he said. “The biggest thing small companies overlook is the importance of talent and team. A lot of entrepreneurs get used to doing everything themselves, and they ultimately grow to a size that’s impossible to do everything in an excellent way. Investing in talent can really take an organization to the next level.”

Graham Burrow, a sophomore accounting student, was impressed with McMurray’s professional background and appreciates opportunities to talk with C-suite executives on campus.

“Getting advice and insights from a CFO of a major company like Owens Corning is something that can only help me,” Burrow said. “That’s one of the reasons I chose Fisher – we’re provided with these tremendous opportunities to hear speakers like this. It’s a great learning tool and something that I try to take advantage of as much as I can. It’s pretty special.”