I studied the exciting subjects of finance and international business (laughs). Handy subjects to learn. I never got close to becoming a banker, but studying finance paid off and was real helpful. Also, I was very much an entrepreneur back then. I started two software companies while I was at uni; spending time in California, it’s hard not to be involved in that somehow. One I sold off and the other brought me back to Europe. Then, for the last 10 years, I’ve been in the oil and gas industry.
Just before joining Gulf Craft, I was working with Cornerstone, one of the leading implementation consultancies in the EMEA market. Gulf Craft was a client and it was one of the accounts I was reviewing as head of operations. It turned out to be an account that I was spending more and more time with. Part of it was the love for the region, and the other part is I’m fanatical about boats too.
On my gosh! When have I not owned a boat! My parents took me out on a boat for two weeks when I was only six months old. This was up in Cape Cod. Ever since I have been on board all the time. This is now the first time that I’ve been without a boat for a while.
Hurricane Irma happened! But I now have a wonderful selection of boats to pick from.
It was after I helped Gulf Craft with the strategic retreat as part of Cornerstone. This lead to the proposal to work with them. I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to lead such a strong organisation. Gulf Craft is now established around the world. It is a major brand and it’s not only a fantastic opportunity, but also a very humbling experience as well. This is a national pride, a regional pride and I’m fully aware of that.
It was a great advantage during the transition. It’s very important not to destabilise an organisation in a transition such as this. It’s all been very smooth. It was definitely an advantage knowing the key players and quite frankly these people are a large reason why I came on board; there’s a wonderful team here. The products are fantastic; the history, the heritage and of course, the potential. It’s certainly a creative shipyard.
One of the things I find fascinating is to see all these multicultural work environments add strength and depth to the organisation and make it so much richer – the types of solutions that we find, the creativity, the levels of innovation, it’s a far more dynamic environment than what you would traditionally find in the UK, France, or Germany.
One of the things I find fascinating is to see all these multicultural work environments add strength and depth to the organisation.
I don’t think what I face is that important. What we face is, the markets are different and risk diversity is very important, so a true global coverage is a very strong asset.
It will certainly be one of the areas of focus. I’ll keep our playbook a little bit to ourselves, but I can share our three point, high level strategy.
First point is focusing on growth for all the brands and achieving that through dedicated resources and direct lines of accountability. We will focus also on ensuring that the product life cycle management is aggressive enough to ensure that new products are being released in a way that continues to capture and excite the respective markets.
The second part is going to be operational excellence and world class performance, because it’s such a competitive environment out there. But I have to say that Gulf Craft has done a remarkable job of continuing to push the limits of engineering and working on elevating quality.
The third part of it, and this may sound a little bit overstated by some, but I fundamentally believe it, is that our greatest asset is our people.
The World Cup is still fresh in our minds and I see our top 10 standing as being in the World Cup. We wouldn’t want to go to the World Cup unless we have the best possible players to put on the pitch. We’re going to make sure we focus on training, that we’ve got the right players, the team’s in good shape and we’re not playing to participate, we’re playing to win.