MS in Accounting alumnus Rich Montoni is the CEO and President of MAXIMUS, a company that helps governments around the globe improve their public health and human services programs. Bloomberg Businessweek honored Rich as the #3 Tech Turnaround Artist in its ranking of the top 20 CEOs “who since taking over have helped their companies’ stocks go from laggards to outperformers” in comparison to the S&P 500. Bloomberg compared stock performance before and after the CEOs were appointed. In the two years before Rich became CEO, MAXIMUS stock was down 5.3% versus the S&P 500 return of 17.5% for the same period. In the five years after Rich became CEO (2006-2011) MAXIMUS stock returns were over 480% compared to the S&P 55.7% return.
Q: How did your experience in the MS Accounting program help position you in your career?
A: The MS Accounting program provided an intense focus, both educational and work experience, that helped me hone the skills needed to obtain a starting opportunity with KPMG and to advance within that firm. Success can be defined as when preparedness meets opportunity. Well, for me, Northeastern's MS Accounting program certainly provided the "preparedness" and also the initial "opportunity" through the companion co-op experience.
Q: What were the major factors that contributed to your success in turning around MAXIMUS?
A: There were two major factors. First, we embarked on a strategy to focus our business in an area where we felt there would be long term growth and where we had superior skills - business process outsourcing for governments in the areas of health and human services. We believed that increasing populations, changing demographics (more elderly and poor), and tightening government budgets would increase the demand for the world-class services we provide governments. This led us to divest eight businesses in the first three years. The second major factor was to articulate and culturalize a three tier risk management strategy aimed at getting it right the first time, and identifying risk/opportunity drivers and actions to best manage them.
Q: What are your impressions of Northeastern now compared to when you went to school here?
A: First, my impression of differences: clearly a better cafeteria (including Starbucks), better athletic facility, more global presence and brand, more diverse, better connected with alumni. Now, my impression of what has not changed: MBTA rail and cars, Fenway Park, and the passion, intensity, and drive of the students I meet.