Endorsement of Malcolm Campbell
“It is a privilege for me to give this unqualified endorsement for one of the finest consultants with whom I have worked over the course of my 40-plus years in international petroleum finance and technology development.
My first encounter with Malcolm Campbell was (in the early ‘90s) one where I was on the candidate side. Malcolm (successfully) recruited me to join the then new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to create and lead the EBRD’s Natural Resources Group. With the Bank being barely six months in existence when Malcolm first contacted me, this engagement was a challenging and difficult one – for any executive search professional. But this was not just any search professional.
Malcolm Campbell faced a multi-dimensional challenge, wherein: the EBRD, in its earliest days, had no institutional history, creating challenge-1 in which Malcolm had to balance the urgent staffing needs of the Bank with the dearth of extant knowledge about that new international financial institution (‘IFI’); challenge-2 was that he, honestly but necessarily reservedly, had to engage with multiple persons (including me) to find the right candidate for one of this nascent organization’s then non-existing major departments; he adjusted, in framing his challenge-3, his mode of operation such that the subtle, yet critical, capacity that he searched for in candidates (at least in my own case) was that of whether the candidate had more than sufficient creativity and leadership skills to dive into the young, fluid organization and have the staying power to create a team from the ground up and, crucially, to contribute early and often to meeting the Bank’s investment objectives. For the EBRD, in these early days, it was essential that the Bank “get it right” in the oil, gas and minerals sectors – because this was the Bank’s sweet spot (given the FSU’s rich natural resources) – and failure here would be significantly damaging to the Bank’s early reputation. Malcolm knew this!
My next encounter with Malcolm Campbell was that of engaging him to assist me (as, then, the first Group Head of the EBRD’s Natural Resources Group) in recruiting the kind of highly qualified, young, dynamic bankers that I wanted for my new team. Insofar as Malcolm and I had come to know one another rather well through my own recruitment into the Bank, it was natural for me to turn to him for help in building part of my new team. Here is where Malcolm’s deep organizational and inter-personal skills shown brightest.
While Malcolm’s three challenges noted above were, at the time of my recruitment into the EBRD, mainly implicit and institutional in nature, Malcolm recognized early on that a challenge-4 also had to be successfully embraced. That fourth challenge consisted of: his ferreting out my own reading of lie-of-the-land in the EBRD’s earliest days, as I got my feet onto the necessarily shaky ground; his judging the accuracy of my reading; and then blending his take of the situation with my own take. In short, both he and I were, concurrently but somewhat separately, sizing up this new IFI, and we each were seeing different shades of grey. Malcolm always exhibited a firm politeness in presenting his own views, which were solidly grounded in his deep understanding of organizational behavior and of European dispositions.
Now, in looking back at those earliest days of the EBRD’s formation and path-setting, I see much wisdom and skill brought to the table in what Malcolm Campbell contributed to the Bank’s eventual success.
Since that time in the early- and mid-‘90s, I have had the pleasure of working with Malcolm in two other important settings. I engaged Malcolm to recruit a senior energy banker into one of my finance groups at Brown & Root (while I was EVP and CFO within this major Halliburton, Inc. affiliate), and again he found and helped me hire the right person at the right time. Most recently, during 2017-18, Malcolm worked directly with me (as founder of a technology company) in business development contacts in the EU.
Based on my having collaborated with Malcolm Campbell over the course of 20-plus years, I can summarize my endorsement of this skilled executive consultant as follows:
- Always a pragmatic focus.
- Deep understanding of organization theory and practice.
- Can-do attitude. Always gets results.
- Capacity for building consensus.
- Knows how to challenge without alienating, leading to win-win.
- Is patient, fair and kind.”