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For Steve Menzies, there is an easy commerce between his legendary acumen and leadership in the corporate world and his dedicated philanthropy and leadership in the arts, giving a multi-dimensional impetus to enterprises in each sector. This gives a distinctly intellectual and creative edge to his businesses across the globe and an experienced CEO’s business perspective benefitting arts institutions.
A recognized business figure who has been called “a bold intellectual in the CEO’s chair,” “one of the most generous and giving people in the Corporate world,” and simply “the wizard” by Bloomberg, Steve is a serial entrepreneur whose achievements include the creation of Applied Underwriters 24 years ago, a unique insuring format for Workers’ Compensation affecting millions of US businesses’ employees’ safety and well-being.
Applied is the only mono-line insurer ever with an A+ rating, indicating the company’s performance, security, and stability with its more than $2B of revenues. Among his other companies based in the U.S. and in South America, Asia and the E.U., Steve manufactures and delivers vitally important products inter country and intra country, in China, Argentina, and other key markets. His strength in underwriting and investment banking have touched many lives across three continents most favorably.
As a CEO dedicated to positive social outcomes and serious corporate responsibility, he has been cited repeatedly for his care for injured workers, for setting safety standards in the workplace, and for giving business owners and operators a financial benefit for their observance of best practices. Most recently, he was presented the St. Vincent De Paul medal, the highest award of the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York, founded by the Sisters of Charity to educate for service to the infirm and the poor. Noting that Steve was the first CEO to establish a pharmacy within his company to provide careful M.D. monitoring of the prescription, provision and use of opioids for the injured employees and citing the fact that he is the revolutionary in insurance who provides inner city homeowners with sound insurance for their properties in places generally ignored by others, the award presenter described his standards of service as exemplary: “ Never the “cookie cutter” executive, Steve, is, instead, an intellectual whose academic acuity is rare in institutional circles.”
From his world class art collection to his corner stone support of charitable and cultural institutions, Steve has made a substantial difference in the future of the arts. He turned his stewardship of the San Francisco Opera – as its Vice Chairman and Chairman of its Capital Fund- into a grand success. The San Francisco Opera has grown as one of the world’s leading cultural institutions and Steve has been acknowledged repeatedly to have played a key role in the Company’s new vitality and economic viability- a pace setter among the world’s opera companies.
He serves on the Board of the American Friends of the Teatro alla Scala in Milano and is an active supporter of the quality of life and aesthetic ambience of Omaha, where he is creating Heartwood Park and Preserve, one of the largest developments in the United States, and through the newly developing “Bold Minds” Series that will bring great thinkers year round to the citizens of Omaha, the city in which his 800 staff members live and work.
Raised in New York where he progressed early on as a multi-talented student to be graduated in Mathematics from Columbia University, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area in the early 90’s where he founded Applied. Eye opening expansion followed as businesses welcomed the new risk transfer format that enabled them to participate in the outcome of their work site safety and their risk management commitment, all, putting worker well-being at the top of the priority list .
In 1998, Steve established an operations center in Omaha, Nebraska to handle its business. In 2006, Warren Buffet through Berkshire Hathaway purchased an interest in the company and formed a partnership that boosted the Company’s reach but left it totally autonomous under Steve’s aegis. This is not the way that Berkshire Hathaway usually “partners,” but this arrangement has endured for these many years through Steve’s relationship with Warren Buffet, an admirer of Steve’s stellar innovations with Applied and its uniquely independent, organic growth in a market where acquisitions are the rule for growth. In the financial services world Applied is distinguished by its uniquely organic growth, i.e. its continuing acceptability, in a world where growth through acquisition and merger is often the rule.
Steve divides his time between San Francisco, Omaha, New York and Shanghai, and spends much time creating original educational, arts and business “blueprints” to enable successful building that benefits society meaningfully.