This month Charlie Rosson, CEO of San Francisco-based Woodruff-Sawyer & Co., takes over as chairman of The Council of Employee Benefits Executives.
You’ve been the CEBE vice chairman, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
This is an interesting and critical time in the employee benefits industry. It’s clearly become much more high-profile, and I believe the profile of the CEBE has been raised largely because of the work we do on the healthcare reform side.
What role do you see the CEBE serving as healthcare reform is rolled out?
Our role is to work with The Council and be advocates for our business and the value we bring to clients. CEBE really represents the top tier of employee benefits consulting and brokerage firms. We can put forward a very informed and articulate presence in the legislative process by recommending changes to legislation, making sure our voice is heard and our perspective is being considered.
Are you a native Californian?
As a matter of fact, I’m a fifth-generation Californian. We came here before the gold rush. I grew up in Saratoga, which is really now a suburb of Silicon Valley. When my family moved there, it was a pretty sleepy area.
What’s the first place you take visitors to in San Francisco?
If the weather’s nice, the Marin headlands. You can look down on the Golden Gate Bridge, on San Francisco Bay and across to San Francisco. It’s really like nothing else in the world.
Are you willing to divulge your favorite restaurant in the city?
Sure. There’s a restaurant called Perbacco, on California Street. The cable cars run in front, and they make this fantastic homemade Italian food. If you’re looking for an authentic but not fancy experience, there’s a Chinese noodle shop called Han’s Won Tun House on Kearny Street that makes the best handmade noodle dishes, wonton and Chinese barbecue pork you’ll ever find.
Tell me about your family.
Denise and I have been married 17 years. We have two daughters, eight and 10 years old. We really enjoy traveling with them. We recently had the opportunity to take them to Argentina. They just love children there. They fall all over themselves in restaurants. Probably the best vacation we ever took was when we rented an RV and drove up the California coast. It was just a magical trip. We were able to stay right on the water. We took our dog with us and had great dinners and met wonderful people.
Who have been your most important mentors?
Doug Morton and Stan Loar. They’re our chairman and vice chairman. They’re great examples of people who have a passion for the business. They exemplify getting out of a career what you put into it. They’ve given me a huge vote of confidence in allowing me to move into the current role of CEO, and they’re there for me for guidance. But they don’t hover over me or try to micromanage.