Here is the man you want in a crisis: while everyone squawks, he is listening. A great bear of a fellow, his eyes bright blue and calm, white- haired head nodding, he says, 'Hmmmm.' Then, 'I’ll take care of it.' And he does.
Charles Mathers, 61, whose quiet sparkle attracted innumerable friends, clients and employees, spent a lifetime handling crises. As a young man he served in the Navy for six years, much of it in a nuclear submarine. In Sea Girt, N.J., where he and Margaret, his wife of 39 years, raised three children, he was a volunteer firefighter for a quarter-century. He traveled around the world, consulting on insurance for utilities, including nuclear power plants.
But for all his responsibilities, Mr. Mathers, a managing director at Marsh & McLennan, was hardly slathered with gravitas. On the contrary.
This summer, at a conference of utility clients, insurers and brokers in Chicago, Mr. Mathers’s company was host to a dinner. Mr. Mathers made brief remarks and introduced an executive client. 'And here’s one risk Chuck may not have considered,' the client said, then planted a shaving-cream pie in Mr. Mathers’s face. Several hundred otherwise staid people gasped and fell all over with laughter.
Mr. Mathers had planned the entire stunt.