On looking back over a pretty long career I see myself as a corporate nomad.
My international “itch” was first generated by voluntary service work in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) after graduating with a degree in Sociology and Law. This was subsequently fed by sojourns in Paris (post INSEAD), Algeria, New York and Hong Kong, in addition to my home town, London, which is where my wife and I now find ourselves. INSEAD was a catalyst to these international forays.
The other “itch” was my interest in the “soft side of management” (human resources etc.) and in not-for-profit organisations. The two turned out to be complementary and pervasive throughout my career.
My first experience of the corporate world was IBM. It didn’t take long to realise that monolithic corporate cultures were not for me. Fortunately INSEAD provided the platform to transition gracefully and I emerged after a life-changing year to join almost the direct opposite of IBM, a division of Bendix Corporation. In many respects it was like Fawlty Towers but what a great learning opportunity. As assistant to the General Manager, Europe and then Head of Personnel I saw the leaky side of management and ended up signing my own redundancy papers as the walls came tumbling down in the first of my career recessions.
From there to management development consultancy in Algeria and thence head hunting. Back to my soft skills I was now an intermediary in identifying and recruiting executive talent. Over 30 years I recruited in London, New York and Hong Kong thereby qualifying myself as a global executive. I was just staying ahead of INSEAD’s own plans for global domination.
But I was also becoming involved in the not for profit world and for many years have been very active in this fascinating sector. I joined the British-American Chamber of Commerce in New York and before long became President and then the first CEO. This was a great opportunity to work with a board to transform an organisation. I found that I enjoyed this more than executive search (CBE included) because of its strategic impact and was lucky enough to run another trade association before I retired, this time the global association for my own industry, executive search.
June and I moved to London in 2014 to follow her job as President for Verifone, Europe, I continue to be active as co-founder and principal of an executive mentoring business (Turner Felix Associates) and board member of several charities (the Scientific Exploration Society and Books Beyond Words). I also find myself organizing the 45th reunion for our promotion at a chateau in Burgundy.
Vive INSEAD! The journey continues.
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