Strategy consultant since 1985. At First River Consulting from 1998; Beddows & Company, 1987-97, (in the US from 1989) and The Addison Group, 1985-87.
Over twenty years of consulting to the steel industry & other capital intensive industries in North America, Europe & South America. Focused on strategy development, implementation, & organization.
M.A. in English, Cambridge University, England - 1981. MS in Strategy & Organization Development, Pepperdine University, CA -1996. Speak German and passable French.
Born in Yorkshire, England - 1958. Married. Live on Mount Washington in Pittsburgh. Contact me
I live in the US, in Pittsburgh, but I was born in the United Kingdom. I'm a citizen of both places. I moved to the US in 1989 to work on a large, complex, steel company strategy problem. I started consulting in 1985 for The Addison Group in London. Part of The Addison Group became Beddows & Company and I worked there until 1997. Tony and I - but mostly Tony - ran their North American office for the last three or so years I was there.
Before I did any kind of consulting I was a student of English Literature at Cambridge. I eventually found my way to The Addison Group which was an exciting young strategy consulting company. It was born out of a Swedish consulting company and some of First River's consulting approach reflects that - or at least how I remember it. The Addison Group was probably too exciting, because the center couldn't hold. The company split up into a whole array of consulting companies that have each interpreted the same experience in different ways. We learn what we want to learn.
|People often don't
think so, but consulting is hard. It's not hard like
working on a scarfing line or cleaning bathrooms. And
it's not hard like running a company, especially an
industrial manufacturing company - but it's still hard.
It isn't treated with enough respect by most of the
people who practice it and it's too fond of coming up
with the next best thing instead of refining the practice
of how strangers help groups of strangers achieve their
My consulting career has covered a whole range of industries from music software to steel. It's been mostly steel in the last 10 years, because steel is such a difficult industry in which to make effective strategy and because the problems of change are so great. I've covered a great many strategy problems in steel and other industries (growth; technology choice; merger & acquisition; bankruptcy; restructuring; reorganization; product line development etc.) I've covered nearly all steel product lines (flat, long, tube, specialty) and many countries. The steel industry is a great source of learning for anyone trying to develop business strategy in a heavy industry, new or old.
The core problem in all (strategy) consulting is how to be an effective consultant. A great part of that is knowing your subject and another great part of it is knowing how to help an organization change. I recognized that I didn't know enough about the second great part so I went back to school to learn more stuff. I went through Pepperdine's MSOD course under the guidance of Professor Chris Worley and came out trying to integrate the development of dynamic business strategies with the development of a senior management group's ability to develop and act on them. That's what I do now.
To spread our word and continue our conversation with the world, I speak at conferences and to, mainly, steel industry organizations. Most of my speeches, presentations and what I've published are in the library along with other things that are only available online.
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