Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

Page 1

2018 • A supplement to Offshore Support Journal

industry leaders “One of the lessons of the downturn has been a greater focus on efficiencies” Jan van der Tempel founder and chief executive Ampelmann p15 “You have got to diversify and ensure that operational excellence and safety are second to none” Shane Guidry chief executive Harvey Gulf International Marine p19 “Coming out of the crisis it is clear to me that it is important to own ships, but it is paramount to have a portfolio of services” René Kofod-Olsen chief executive Topaz Marine p26

John Gellert, chief executive, Seacor Marine Holdings – 2018 OSJ Industry Leader of the Year “There is a lot of experience in our sector’s recent history of what doesn’t work if you are too rigid and are not realistic on what customers will accept” see page 6



Edwin Lampert Head of Content


elcome to this year’s Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders. Inside you will find profiles on those personalities who, in our opinion, are leading and shaping our industry. We have interviewed each and every one to gain a clear insight into what has been driving them over the last 12 months, and where their focus will lie in the year ahead. In this year’s Industry Leaders supplement, we have sought to get a real feel of the characters that steer the offshore industry, conveying a genuine sense of the person behind the position. Compiling this publication is a hugely enjoyable exercise – but also a fraught one. It is enjoyable because it allows the opportunity to engage one-on-one with truly impressive individuals. It is fraught because choosing a leader among leaders – or primus inter pares – is always an invidious task, to say nothing of those who have not made the list.

industry leaders Published November 2018 Head of Content: Edwin Lampert t: +44 20 370 7017 e: Production Editor: Kevin Turner t: +44 20 370 1737 e: Brand Manager – Sales: Ian Glen t: +44 7919 263 737 e: Sales: Indrit Kruja t: +44 20 8370 7792 e:

When profiling these individuals, we sought to do more than simply list their achievements. We wanted to understand what drives them; what inspires them; what infuriates them; and, crucially, what good leadership means to them. Inevitably, a number of those individuals profiled last year feature again this time round. Some leaders have maintained their positions – and there is slippage too. The profile of our leaders in terms of age and gender, however, remains similar. Will the industry diversify in the year ahead? Just beyond this comment is an infographic section. In it we tabulate various leadership metrics. It’s an interesting insight and we thank for its input here. Feedback on this year’s Industry Leaders is warmly welcomed, however heated! But first sit back with your copy and spend some time among the outstanding leaders in our industry. OSJ

Sales: Colin Deed t: +44 1239 612384 e: Head of Sales – Asia: Kym Tan t: +65 6809 1278 e: Sales – Asia & Middle East: Rigzin Angdu t: +65 6809 1277 e:

“We have sought to get a real feel of the characters that steer the offshore industry”

Published by: Riviera Maritime Media Ltd Mitre House 66 Abbey Road Enfield EN1 2QN UK ISSN 2055-3749 (Print) ISSN 2051-0594 (Online) ©2018 Riviera Maritime Media Ltd

Sales – Southeast Asia & Australasia: Kaara Barbour t: +61 414 436 808 e: Production Manager: Ram Mahbubani t: +44 20 8370 7010 e:

Chairman: John Labdon Managing Director: Steve Labdon Finance Director: Cathy Labdon Operations Director: Graham Harman Head of Production: Hamish Dickie

Disclaimer: Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is correct, the Author and Publisher accept no liability to any party for any inaccuracies that may occur. Any third party material included with the publication is supplied in good faith and the Publis8er accepts no liability in respect of content. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, reprinted or stored in any electronic medium or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

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A digest of the sector’s top performers through 2018
























Edison Chouest Offshore $1,007

Tidewater Marine


Solstad Offshore


Nam Cheong International Ltd




USA $5,669

NORWAY $3,779



BRAZIL $1,867



USD M CHINA $1,702

UAE $1,234

Disclaimer: VesselsValue data as November 2018.



Number of vessels

Total Spent USD M


Total Spent USD M


14 12





$100 $80






$20 $0


Breakwater Capital

Tianjin Offshore Investment Management

Seatankers Management

Rem Offshore


OSV S&P ACTIVITY $1,800 $,600 Total Spent USD M

$1,400 $1,200 $1,000 $800 $600 $400 $200 $0 2012

2013 AHT

2014 AHTS


2015 FSV




2018 PSV




Tidewater & GulfMark


$1,302 USD M

No. Vessels 265


Solstad Offshore, Deep Sea Supply & Farstad Shipping


$863 USD M

No. Vessels 100

Disclaimer: VesselsValue data as November 2018.

Number of Vessels


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John Gellert (Seacor Marine Holdings): Determined to remain open and flexible and to adapt to market conditions


John Gellert

president, chief executive officer and director Seacor Marine Holdings, Inc


ust about a year and a half after spinning off from Seacor Holdings to head up the new Seacor Marine Holdings, Inc., chief executive John Gellert has plenty of evidence to support the claim that he has grown the business during a difficult period. Navigating a “frustratingly slow process of recovery” in the offshore market has required creativity, he said, readily acknowledging the limited capital the business had to work with at the beginning. “We did the Montco lift boat transaction which closed in February of this year, but we were working on it pretty much since even before the spin. We also did a joint venture (JV) in China with COSCO on eight platform supply vessels (PSVs),” he said. “We completed a private placement of equity in May of this year. And then, lastly, just a couple of weeks ago, we completed a debt refinancing. So, I think all of those were interesting transactions that we had to be creative in structuring in order to maximise our reach.” With over 25 years of his time spent within Seacor’s various businesses, Mr Gellert said his résumé was “pretty boring”, downplaying a wealth of experience. He has effectively headed up the group’s offshore marine services arm for 13 years. Prior to that, he spent another 13 years in financial, analytical, chartering and marketing roles within the organisation, and all the while it seems he has been firmly focused on the numbers. Asked about the much hoped-for recovery in the offshore vessels sector, Mr Gellert said that if this level of market activity is not sustainable, “we will be doing something else.” “I think it is sustainable from our end of the business,” he said, noting “while business is better, I still wouldn’t categorise it as much of a recovery.” He continued: “Utilisation is better, but day rates are still very low. But I also think more broadly it is sustainable because with oil and gas prices where they are, and have been for a while, there is strong cash flow from our customers and there is money in the system now. “I think that the cashflow will drive a recovery. It trickles down to the service side. I think you are seeing some of it on the rates side in terms of transactions and a more positive outlook … but at the moment it is a frustratingly slow process of recovery.” Like others in the sector, the difficult conditions have forced Mr Gellert to add focus to international operations while also doing a better job of adapting within local markets to what each of those markets, individually, has to offer. “We operate worldwide and one size does not fit all,” he said. “You need to adapt to the local market. What works in the local market in one place doesn’t work in other places, even if it you are utilising similar assets. You have to listen to what the market is offering and adapt yourself to it. You can’t think you are going to be able to dictate the market or dictate what the market wants.” A willingness to adapt is what forms the core of his leadership style. Rigidity is the enemy because it prevents people from making sound decisions, he said. “My motto and mantra are to keep an open mind and be practical,

be pragmatic. There is a lot of experience in our sector’s recent history of what doesn’t work if you are too rigid and are not realistic on what customers will accept and what finance makes sense,” he said. Mr Gellert’s determination to remain open and flexible in his thinking and to adapt to market conditions are behind the company’s increased focus on hybrid power options for its vessels and the role that automation will play in vessel operations in the future. “Most recently with our JVs, we have installed hybrid power on our PSVs, both in China and in Mexico,” he said. “For our Mexican JV we are installing battery packs on existing PSVs, which reduces fuel consumption and engine usage. It reduces fuel consumption by reducing engine usage, so there are savings for the end customer on fuel costs and savings for us on maintenance costs for less running hours.” The move towards automation, according to Mr Gellert, is being driven by the interlinked business challenges of safety and an ageing labour pool that, due to economic difficulties, has left less room for new talent and training. “I think the two challenges, and they are kind of linked, are safety and labour, maybe more labour than safety,” he said. “You have overall an aging workforce, so how do you replenish that workforce?” he asked. “You are going to have less experienced crew, and how do you maintain safe operations with crew that are gaining experience? One of the things we are looking at is autonomy; not to look at the fully autonomous operation of a vessel but somewhat akin to what we have done with hybrid vessels, where a battery is supplementing the main diesel power. We want to find autonomous options that supplement the qualified crew,” he said.

Bio Name: John Gellert Job title: president, chief executive officer and director, Seacor Marine Holdings, Inc Favourite book: Hillbilly Elegy by J D Vance Favourite app: Netflix Who you admire outside industry: I am an Amazon fan, I like Jeff Bezos. Not only has he transformed retailing, he has also [done the same with] cloud computing. I talk about listening to the market and, I don’t know, maybe it has gone overboard and it is too powerful, but part of that power is reacting to what people want. Interests outside work: I have a family with three young kids that takes up most of my time. I do like to play golf and I am doing my best to keep downhill skiing as something to do when they are older.

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Credits: M3 Marine Remote Inspection Pte Ltd

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Álvaro Platero Diaz

owner and president, Astilleros Gondán


Álvaro Platero Diaz (Astilleros Gondán): Sure that the good times will come again

ocated in Castropol, Asturias in northern Spain, Astilleros Gondán was founded in 1925 by Francisco Díaz Martínez, grandfather of Álvaro Platero Diaz, and has remained in the family ever since. The small, family owned nature of Gondán is an advantage in Mr Platero’s eyes, allowing a closeness with his staff which is an important part of his leadership style. “Leadership is generated with the team; you can do nothing yourself, you need to do everything with the team,” he said. Mr Platero seeks to balance experience and age across his team and sees his main role as maintaining that balance, which helps him control the overall direction of the team: “It is like a horse race; you need to control the horse.” Mr Platero believes that the control of cost is the key to being profitable and explained that when a contract is signed, the price to the customer is fixed, albeit with a possibility of small variations. In the same way as the company successfully manages costs, Gondán readily tackles technical issues to produce complex, sophisticated vessels. “The company has always been able to solve technical problems,” said Mr Platero, “but for me the most important thing is how you can sell vessels.” Mr Platero noted how his grandfather told him when he was first starting out that the shipbuilding market is like a wave, with many ups and downs. “Sometimes you have very good times, the market is up, you have a lot of contracts, you can sign a lot of vessels, but suddenly – and you never know why exactly – the prices go down, the market goes down and you are at the bottom” he observed, adding: “When you are in the top it looks like you are the king of the world; when you are on the bottom it looks like you are at the end of the line.” Mr Platero deals with these ups and downs by remaining calm, not overcommitting when times are good and being proactive in seeking contracts when times are bad. Indeed, Gondán has

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


experienced this ‘wave’ many times, both in fishing and offshore, and has been able to focus on the fishing market when offshore is down, and vice versa. Considering the troubles weathered by the offshore sector in recent years, Mr Platero is “sure that the good times will come again”, but reiterated the importance of diversification into other sectors in order to cope with bad times by not being exclusively tied to the fortunes of one sector. Another means to continued success is evolution and adapting to and adopting new technologies when they prove themselves viable. By way of example, Gondán is embracing digitalisation, which, according to Mr Platero, is a fastmoving and irreversible wave, not just in shipbuilding but for the entire world. However, he added a word of caution, noting: “If you are prepared maybe you can surf this wave; but if you are not prepared, this technological wave can destroy you.” He warned that it is difficult to predict which technologies will prove to be the most important, explaining that when he started out it was considered unusual

“If you produce good quality at a good price with high productivity, if you are honest and proud of your work, I think that this is the key”

to install computers in a shipyard: “Now everyone [has them]; whether in the office or on board the vessels, [people can] make regular use of computers and tablets and carry around a smartphone allowing near-constant access to information via the internet.” And that technology can also help shipping address one of the biggest challenges it, along with the rest of the world, has ever faced – decarbonisation.

Bio Name: Alvaro Platero Díaz Job title: owner and president, Astilleros Gondán Education: MSc in Naval Architecture and Oceanic Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid Leadership motto/mantra: the qualities of a leader can only be measured by the quality of the team he builds and which supports him Favourite book: biographies of people who have made a difference, such as Nelson Mandela and Amancio Ortega Favourite app: Netflix – it’s amazing to be able to watch your favourite films/TV shows online no matter where you are! Who you admire within industry: Johannes Østensjø. I have known him for many years, and since the first time we met, his example for me was always inspiring Who you admire outside industry: he is not exactly outside the industry but my grandfather, the founder of the yard, was by far the person who I admired the most. He shaped not only my career, but also the way I conduct business and the way I am Interests outside work: I am very lucky that both my workplace and my home are located in an amazing natural setting and I try to make the most out of it. I love outdoor activities that allow me time to share with my family, especially if there is some sailing involved

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

In tackling this concern Mr Platero highlights two angles: firstly, there is the approach of the shipyard itself and how it powers its operations – Gondán sources all of its electricity from renewable sources. Secondly, and most importantly in Mr Platero’s eyes, there is the equipment on board and the roles performed by the vessels Gondán builds. By way of example, Edda Ferd, built for Østensjø Rederi (OR), was the most environmentally friendly PSV in the world on delivery in 2013 and won OSJ’s Environmental Award that year. Gondán has also built three dual-fuel tugs for OR, is currently building an icebreaking tug for a Swedish client that has a diesel-battery hybrid system and has previously been involved with service operations vessels for windfarm maintenance. “We are ready to build all these kinds of vessels and I think that there is no going back, decarbonisation will be there,” said Mr Platero. Discussing the attributes necessary for success in the offshore support sector, Mr Platero said: “If you produce good quality at a good price with high productivity, if you are honest and proud of your work, I think that this is the key, not only for this sector but all of the sectors.” Considering some of the key moments that have defined the company, Mr Platero highlighted the decision to diversify into the offshore support sector, noting the option was either to produce smaller, cheaper vessels, or larger, more complex ones. Gondán opted for the latter, which proved to be the right choice. European yards cannot compete with Asian yards when it comes to smaller, simpler vessels, due to higher labour costs. “We need to compete in sophisticated vessels, complex vessels, new technologies and eco-friendly vessels,” he explained.

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John T. Rynd (Tidewater): Does not predict an imminent shift away from the internal combustion engine


John T. Rynd

president, chief executive officer and director, Tidewater


everal months on from taking up the reins at Tidewater, John T Rynd shares his views on the vagaries of the market, what makes for successful leadership and a profitable company, and the future of the sector. Tidewater emerged from bankruptcy in 2017 following a successful financial restructuring, at which point president, chief executive and director Jeffrey M Platt announced his retirement and Larry T. Rigdon stepped into an interim leadership position. In March 2018, John T. Rynd joined the company, taking on the three roles previously held by Mr Platt. A few months later in July, a planned merger with Gulfmark Offshore, worth roughly US$1.25Bn, was announced, which would result in the creation of the world’s largest OSV fleet. Mr Rynd’s decision to join Tidewater was predicated on a number of factors: “First and foremost, after coming out of the restructuring the balance sheet was, and continues to be, in excellent shape,” he said, noting that the company is currently debt negative. The company’s assets, with an average age of less than nine years, were another draw, explained Mr Rynd: “The asset base is young and deployed around the world in the appropriate areas where drilling and production activity is taking place and will continue to take place.” Finally, there was the current state of the offshore cycle, which Mr Rynd believes is now on the up. The three pillars of Mr Rynd’s leadership style are communication, dedication and leading by example. Transparent communication prevents rumours developing and uncertainty setting in: “99.9% of people want to be part of something successful and if you can communicate with them and direct them in the area where they can help make the company successful, you are going to be successful.” In terms of leading by example, Mr Rynd says simply: “If you are asking your employees to do something you’d darn well better be doing it as well.” While Mr Rynd has worked under “some very, very good leaders”, with a range of unique styles, he explained they had in common the fact that they understood the direction they wanted their companies to

go in: “They put the right people in place to get the job done; and they communicated their vision and strategy very succinctly and often.” The offshore support sector is dependent upon market conditions and the business cycle and Mr Rynd noted that “no matter how well you run [the business], how new your assets are, and how appropriately placed they are around the world, if the market is on the bottom you are not going to be profitable.” Get all these pieces into place and the final element in the jigsaw is a dedicated, enthused and motivated workforce with a clear understanding of the company’s mission, he explained. “A successful, profitable company must provide a superior, safe and reliable service to customers, and focus on efficiencies. Say what you are going to do and do it, on a continual basis,” he added. While the industry is coming off the bottom of the cycle, there remains significant oversupply in the OSV market. Mr Rynd noted that Tidewater has sold 33 vessels recently, with 23 of those being scrapped. “I think that there is still a lot of leverage across the industry that has to be dealt with in one form or fashion to really get this industry back to health. “Aside from a good cycle, people’s balance sheets have got to put them in a position where they can be successful and not be working for the banks.” Discussing the Gulfmark merger, Mr Rynd noted that by combining two companies it is possible to drive significant cost savings throughout the organisation, which can improve value among shareholders. In terms of further investment, there is nothing currently in the works, but Mr Rynd said Tidewater will continue to evaluate potential opportunities worldwide, “whether that is picking up some stranded assets from a distressed owner or further corporate M&A.” In order to sustain the sector’s recovery, Mr Rynd is hoping for oil price stability. When customers evaluate drilling opportunities they want to feel comfortable that there will not be wild swings either down or up, he noted. “With that stability I think that we have seen the early phases of an offshore recovery,” he said, adding

Bio Name: John T Rynd Job title: president, chief executive officer and director, Tidewater Education: graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics Interests outside work: golf

that he anticipates that 2019 will be much like 2018. “Activity is slowly but surely improving around the world at a measured pace.” If the oil price remains stable “we could be setting ourselves up for a nice run,” he said, adding: “If the oil price collapses then all bets are off.” In terms of digitalisation, Tidewater is concentrating on and investing in predictive maintenance. The focus is on determining what information to gather and also how best to use this information to increase reliability and drive down maintenance costs. By doing so, Tidewater will be able to maximise the up-time provided to customers and cement its reputation as a reliable supplier. The company does not currently employ battery-on-board hybrid technology, but Tidewater is evaluating this technology and monitoring its performance to establish the return on investment it could generate. Tidewater already uses low-sulphur diesel so is not investing in scrubbers or similar technology, said Mr Rynd. “I don’t see at this point getting away from the internal combustion engine,” he added, although he does believe it is possible to get cleaner-burning, more fuel-efficient engines and to use battery technology to provide peak savings as a near-term focus. “All told, I think that the industry does a very good job providing a service to our clients around the world in a very safe and efficient manner, and I am proud to be in this space,” he added.

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

Jan van der Tempel

founder and chief executive officer, Ampelmann Jan van der Tempel (Ampelmann): We need to keep our industry running while transitioning to decarbonisation



he concept for Ampelmann was conceived at an offshore wind conference in Berlin, and it is from the iconic hatted figures on that city’s pedestrian crossing lights that the company takes its name. The reasoning behind this symbolism is simple: the company’s motion-compensated gangway walk-to-work system can make offshore access as easy as crossing the street. Company founder Jan van der Tempel has been chief executive officer of Ampelmann since its formal founding in 2007, with the exception of a two-year hiatus between 2015 and 2017. The biggest challenge Dr Van der Tempel has faced since returning to his post was to reconsider Ampelmann’s growth strategy. “Instead of trying to plough on with plans we thought we had, what we did was go back to the core of the company,” he said, explaining that this involved ensuring the full fleet was available for operation and getting Ampelmann systems back onto vessels. As a young company, Ampelmann suffered during the downturn, as operators dialed back platform maintenance and contracts were either not extended or cancelled. But thanks to the solid and practical approach taken since Dr Van der Tempel’s return, Ampelmann’s entire fleet was either working or transiting between jobs at the time of writing. Dr Van der Tempel explained that his leadership style is informed by a philosophy of listening and interacting, with customers, suppliers and people inside Ampelmann. Based on the information and understanding learned from this approach, decisions can be made and communicated clearly. While remaining flexible and versatile, this strategy provides a clear direction for people to understand how to do their job, Dr Van der Tempel said. In Dr van der Tempel’s experience, the key to good leadership is clarity of vision and an ability to communicate that vision into something relatable. There is a tendency for people to focus on the details of the here-and-now, he said, but “the core of effective leadership is to take people out of that ‘now urge’ and paint a picture towards the future.” By understanding what is coming you can gain better a perspective on the present, he said: “We as a society need to focus a lot more on that because I think we [...] get a little bit carried away by the stress of the moment.” With the upward trend in oil prices,

Bio Name: Jan van der Tempel Job title: founder and chief executive officer, Ampelmann Education: PhD

Ampelmann has been engaging more with larger oil companies, helping to boost the effectiveness of offshore operations through walk-to-work systems. “When an operator embraces walk-to-work integration in their offshore operations they are able to reduce their operational costs year-on-year by 50% or even 60%,” said Dr Van der Tempel. Walk-to-work is not just a gangway and a boat, said Dr Van der Tempel; rather it is an entire philosophy that differs significantly from helicopter use or the use of jackups and other facilities. Ampelmann is working with offshore operators and vessel operators to spread the word. One of the lessons of the downturn has been a greater focus on efficiencies, with operators rethinking how they execute projects by reducing manpower and costs, said Dr Van der Tempel: “On the cost side, many of the players that didn’t fall over or go bankrupt have been able to operate at a lower cost level doing the same stuff.” On the theme of efficiencies, Dr Van der Tempel believes the current trend towards digitalisation will continue to grow, driven by the increasing availability of high-speed internet offshore. Improved communications technology and greater availability means it is easier than ever to transmit data to operational centers for analysis. This allows companies to carry out preventive maintenance and identify faults and failures before they become major problems. Ampelmann is also embracing virtual reality training for systems operators. This means that instead of having to send operators offshore for two weeks at a time to train and qualify, they can carry out the training in three days in an office, reducing both financial and time costs. Emergency procedures that are not usually seen in normal operations can be repeatedly drilled in a virtual environment, and the systems

generate logs that can produce reports on the quality of an operator’s skills. To further improve efficiency, Ampelmann is in the process of redesigning all of its systems to operate electrically rather than hydraulically, taking advantage of regenerative technology. “Instead of just running a lot of power in keeping our gangway completely stationary we now only use power when we extend our cylinders. We are able to regenerate most of that as the cylinders go back down again,” explained Dr Van der Tempel. Elaborating, he said that Ampelmann estimates its systems’ power consumption could be reduced by as much as 90% using this technique. Reducing energy use has obvious environmental benefits and on that theme Dr Van der Tempel observed that the industry is facing a large transition toward more environmentally friendly vessels: “We have to have partnerships to understand how to make that transition and also make sure that we share the burden.” He added: “We need to keep our industry running, while at the same time making sure we move to decarbonisation.” Indeed, there is much that offshore oil and gas and offshore renewables can learn from each other, bringing mutual benefits: “I think as a society we will not step away from using energy, so we will need an energy mix that, for the foreseeable future, still relies on hydrocarbons, but hydrocarbons in transition to and in conjunction with offshore renewables.” “The core to long-term success is to make sure we understand the driving forces in these two combined sectors and ensure we apply lessons learned in one sector more quickly in the other, and vice versa.”

“The core of effective leadership is to take people out of that ‘now’ urge and paint a picture towards the future”

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Jan Grothusen

managing director, Guidance Marine Bio Name: Jan Grothusen

Job title: managing director, Guidance Marine/director operations and engineering, agile business development, Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions

Education: Computer Science (Cambridge University), Robotics Engineering (Oxford University), MBA (Open University)

Leadership motto/mantra: have trust and keep moving Favourite book: “S**t Happens” – Ralph Ruthe, a German cartoonist, who provides very poignant, honest but always funny reflections on what is happening in the world

Favourite app: Carcassone – a great adaptation of a classic multi-player board game

Who you admire outside the industry: my sister – for giving up her house for a refugee family of eight fleeing persecution in the Middle East and giving them a stable home for the children to integrate in their newly adopted home country

Interests outside work: all outdoor activities (travel, camping, cycling, skiing, hiking), Scandi Noir (Scandinavian and Icelandic crime fiction and films), the European Union and vision, board games, urban planning, architecture and local transport systems (a particular personal obsession)


arlier this year, Guidance Marine managing director Jan Grothusen sold his mid-sized dynamic positioning technology business to Finnish smart technology giant Wärtsilä. Explaining the decision to sell, Mr Grothusen said: “We are a very cash-rich business and very profitable; we have always had our niche and even with the downturn we held our position. So, it wasn’t a financial thing, it was more to do with seeing how the industry is evolving and how innovation is really going to provide the next step.” In short, Mr Grothusen did not sell for financial gain; rather his decision was based on the way in which he anticipates the industry will evolve. Traditionally, class rules and dynamic positioning rules created a fairly strict framework within which technology companies could innovate; now, says Mr Grothusen, the pace of technological progress is making the old rule books obsolete. “This is a very hard space for a small technology company like Guidance Marine to really shine,” he said. “So, for me it was really important to become part of this larger [Wärtsilä] ecosystem and have far more access, influence and opportunity to be able to move the marine market on.” Innovation, he said, is becoming much more than creating individual technical components: “It is not just who has got the best sensor. The best technology and [innovations] are going to come down to ‘How does all of this work together best?’.” Factoring that belief into their calculation, the Guidance Marine ownership looked at Wärtsilä as having the “engagement and the muscle” – essentially the size and market position – to effect change on a large scale. And Mr Grothusen wants to be part of that conversation. “It is really about setting out what some of the vessels of the future are going to look like,” he said. Whereas shipyards have traditionally made incremental improvements to ship designs, with changes driven largely by external pressures from class specifications, charter rules, owner requirements and market demands (“cost, cost, cost, cost, cost”), Mr Grothusen believes the aggregators like Wärtsilä are better able to take a holistic view of the ship design process and save costs while also improving efficiency. Mr Grothusen believes this step change

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

within the industry is most likely to come from the aggregators “as long as they are not killing off the innovation they have brought in.” Mr Grothusen is feeling positive about Guidance Marine’s role within the larger Wärtsilä ecosystem, but he is concerned that the market remains too fragmented and he is impatient to see the “big change” of standardisation that he feels is inevitable. And if the aggregators are too slow to act, the inevitable big change could come from disruption by an external player – for example Amazon in the container shipping sector. “Let’s not kid ourselves – if Jeff Bezos at Amazon decides he is still paying too much to get his goods from one place to another, and he realises there are all these companies that are all making money out of building the equipment, making the equipment, putting it together, upgrading it and operating it … and it has all been paid for through his transport costs, he will just say, ‘I will do it myself’.” Alternatively, explained Mr Grothusen, the change could be driven by technological advances like automation. “Just imagine, you suddenly have the container shipping sector being redefined with semi-autonomous or autonomous ships. At what point is an oil major or a renewable energy company going to say, ‘Hang on, we do that on a container ship and nobody bats an eyelid anymore … and I can’t do it with my windfarm service vessels? I can’t do it with my OSV?’ … It is a vessel, it floats, it moves from A to B,” he said. Ultimately, Mr Grothusen wants to leverage change now to bring the future forward at a greater speed. His keys to success include “curiosity, a believable vision, and a pragmatic approach to money.” He tries to hire well and assumes he is not “half as clever” as his staff. And he trusts those staff to “respond to a rapidly changing environment and be able to read the direction the wind is blowing.”

“It is really about setting out what some of the vessels of the future are going to look like”

Jan Grothusen (Guidance Marine): If the aggregators are too slow to act, the inevitable big change could come from an external player like Amazon

Shane Guidry (Harvey Gulf International Marine): “All my training came from my grandfather, my father and my uncle�


Shane Guidry

chief executive, Harvey Gulf International Marine


hane J. Guidry is the third generation of his family to head up Harvey Gulf International Marine, and the business has been based deep in southern Louisiana’s bayou country since Mr Guidry’s grandfather started it. Capt Numa J. Guidry started out in life as an oyster fisherman back in 1946. Five years later, “he took his oyster boats and lent them to Exxon to drill wells in south Louisiana,” explained his grandson, “and the company just grew from there.” Clearly, Grandfather Guidry was on to a winner. He passed his entrepreneurial acumen down to his children and grandchildren, getting them involved in the family’s myriad business dealings early and instilling in them a rigorous work ethic, according to Mr Guidry. “All my training came from my grandfather, my father and my uncle,” he said. “It was all on-the-job training. In every business we have had – resorts, casinos, hotels, car dealerships – we ran them all the same way.” Asked to describe his leadership style, Mr Guidry’s stresses the idea of leading from the front, notably in the area of safety: “Safety starts with me, right?” is a rhetorical question used to explain a deeply held responsibility. “I read all the safety alerts, every safety email, every safety sign that is posted to our safety internet link by our crew members, and I get involved and answer it,” Mr Guidry said. “It is big involvement. I don’t manage the company from spreadsheets. I don’t manage the company, quite frankly, by spending

Bio Name: Shane J. Guidry Job title: chief executive, Harvey Gulf International Marine Education: two years of college Leadership motto/mantra: don’t allow anyone to do an unsafe task no matter what the monetary reward is Most influential book: Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun Most useful app: Milestone & FLIR cloud (they allow me to see my people working day or night to ensure we are working safe) Who you admire within industry: I admire the crew members on my vessels who aren’t afraid to ask questions and to use their stop work authority. This is why we at Harvey achieved five years with no recordable safety incidents Who you admire outside industry: Dr. Mike Adinolphi. I’ve never seen a man so dedicated to his four daughters as he has been for 25 years as a single dad remaining single himself to do so Interests outside work: none, I’m like a race horse, I was bred to work and it’s all I’ve done and all I want to do. Nothing gives me more joy then doing a deal, visiting a boat, building a vessel, giving a presentation or bringing new technology to our company

a lot of time on investors. I manage the company by being involved in every detail, every day, seven days a week, 18 hours a day.” Mr Guidry’s commitment does not end with safety. He makes every attempt to answer emails, telephone calls and text message requests within five minutes during his 18-hour days, only turning off his phone between the hours of midnight and 6am. Even then, a select group of people – both customers and employees – can call his home phone if there is an emergency. The reward for the hard work, Mr Guidry said, is his employees’ health and a clean safety record. And that clean safety record is part of a calculus that the Harvey Gulf chief executive believes will translate into long-term growth for his company. “You have got to diversify and you have to ensure that operational excellence and safety are second to none,” he said. A disciplined and resilient balance sheet is another key. “We all got to a place [before the downturn] where our balance sheets got out of hand. The market suggested it could handle that, but then everyone saw the train wreck that ensued. We, as a company, are not going to let that happen again,” he said. Mr Guidry said the most important business decision he has made in the last 12 months is, unequivocally, to restructure the company’s finances well ahead of its debt maturity dates. He said it has put Harvey Gulf in a position to acquire competitors. That process, however, is easier said than done. “Consolidation, as I have been saying for years, is the key that we have got to figure out,” he said. “With the early business restructuring, and the strong balance sheet we have today, we can do those sorts of things and be prepared to take advantage of the market that we believe will start to recover in 2019 and definitely in 2020.” He attributes this confidence to recent successful tenders and strengthened interest from clients. “In Mexico, French Guyana, Surinam … things are just looking good,” he said. “People are quite anxious and eager to get back out to work. While costs are low and oil continues to recover, I think it makes sense for these larger companies to put the right capital back to work and take advantage of it.” Still, conditions are nowhere near what they once were, and Harvey Gulf’s plan is to “go global and stay global”, to be acquisitive and to diversify. “We are open, we are expanding our office in Mexico, redeploying people, adding people, and we are doing the same thing in Trinidad,” Mr Guidry said. “We are working on several acquisitions in-house now. Some are already public, others are still confidential. We continue to draw business in the LNG space. We have bids out right now for very large gas carriers. That is something we will expand. We did the LNG PSVs first and then we did an LNG terminal and now we are doing LNG ATB bunker vessels.” “We intend to diversify the business, if you will, to make sure when the next downturn does hit with oil itself, we will have a more diverse portfolio.”

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Mons Aase

chief executive, DOF Group


ons Aase has been part of the management team of Norwegian offshore services company DOF group since 1998, serving first as chief financial officer and deputy managing director before taking up his current position with parent company DOF ASA in 2005. “I keep it simple,” Mr Aase said when asked about his personal leadership philosophy. “You have to be in a good mood and you have to give the responsibilities and freedom to the people that work for you.” He advocates a lean corporate structure, providing support to employees and involving them as discussion partners: “I need to know that if I am not in the office for a year that the system still works fantastically without me.” On the subject of sustaining profitability in the sector, Mr Aase said: “It is all about people; you have to recruit and retain the good people, that is the key.” He reiterated the importance of giving employees responsibility and freedom, as well as career development opportunities. “If you have good people you know that the quality of the service is good and performance is good,” he added. No surprise then that the company’s investment focus is not currently on new assets or vessels, but rather on systems and people. The group’s global operations have been restructured into

Bio Name: Mons Aase Position: chief executive officer, DOF Group Education: MSc (Norwegian Institute of Technology), Cand. Merc. (Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

“It is all about people; you have to recruit and retain the good people, that is the key”

one organisation from two and much time and effort has gone into unifying procedures and producing a single document of compliance. “What I am most proud about is that we have the highest fleet utilisation in the industry,” Mr Aase said. He points to the fact that DOF’s fleet has seen utilisation rates of between 75% and 80% in every quarter. He attributes this to three factors: firstly, the company has never been spot-oriented and has, for a long time, had a strategy of maintaining the highest possible backlog of orders; secondly, the company has spent a long time building up a large global footprint; and thirdly, there is an effective placing strategy. On the subject of a recovery in the OSV sector, he is cautiously optimistic: “Of course I do think that the market will recover and that we will see market rates picking up.” But he warned that the market remains challenging: “We need to be patient and we will gradually see an improvement in the market.” He also believes a recovery will not be a blanket affair: “I think perhaps the subsea side will go back to balance before the OSV side or the PSV side, [but] with the oil price where it is there is reason to be gradually more optimistic.” As to what the industry can learn from the last five years of hardship, Mr Aase highlighted the financial side, saying: “We have to be prepared for downturns and

I guess what you want to have is a good backlog, good organisation and lower levels [of oversupply] than we had at the start of the downturn.” On the topic of decarbonisation, Mr Aase said that DOF is involved in many initiatives to reduce emissions. Since 2010 the group has been engaged with the Carbon Disclosure Project, reporting environmental performance indicators in this way. This has had a direct influence on the development of programmes to manage environmental performance. An important part of the company’s environmental strategy is its Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP). This was developed in partnership with DNV GL and in accordance with guidelines from IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee. Implemented in 2012, it allows the group to plan, implement and monitor initiatives to maximise vessel efficiency across its whole fleet. The company aims to align itself with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Its fleet includes LNG-fueled OSVs such as Skandi Gamma and it has installed battery systems on several of its vessels. The development of onshore power supply, which allows vessels to shut off their engines and connect to dockside power sources in port, is a key area of interest to the group. DOF continuously evaluates its fleet to determine vessels that can be modified to be compatible with this, based on the availability of shore-side connections in their operational areas. Skandi Vega and Skandi Iceman are both able to operate in this mode. All of DOF’s vessels operate on marine gasoil and several have had selective catalytic reduction technology installed. This uses urea as a catalyst to convert NOx into nitrogen gas and water, resulting in approximately a 90% reduction in NOx emissions. DOF is also looking into how best to take advantage of digitalisation, by automating procedures and systems, as well as incorporating sensor technology into vessels.

Mons Aase (DOF Group): Sustaining high utilisation through the downturn

Geir Hüøy (Kongsberg): Positioning the company to take advantage of autonomous shipping


Geir Håøy

chief executive officer, Kongsberg


hen Walter Qvam stepped down as chief executive at Kongsberg Gruppen in 2016, the board of directors chose then-president of Kongsberg Maritime Geir Håøy to replace him. Mr Håøy joined Kongsberg in 1993 as a system engineer, joining management in 2006 and working in a number of roles across the group, before joining the corporate management team as president of Kongsberg Maritime in 2010. He took up the mantle of chief executive in June 2016. Speaking at the time of his appointment in 2016, in the midst of low oil prices, he commented that the company had experienced ups and downs throughout its 200-year history, adding: “It’s very important for us now to handle the short-term and mid-term at the same time and be able to think long term. “To find the right balance and make the correct strategic decisions is always important, independent of the current market situation.” Arguably the biggest strategic decision Mr Håøy and the Norwegian maritime, digital and defence technology firm has made since then was announced in July this year – the company's acquisition of Rolls-Royce Marine in a deal that values the business at £500M (US$660M), set to close in the first quarter of 2019. Mr Håøy said the deal was important for the entire global maritime industry, noting: “This acquisition is the largest in Kongsberg history and an important milestone for our company, us that work here and our companies,” he said. “We have for a long period of time identified the company as a perfect fit for us,” he added. “The two companies are by and large complementary in terms of product, solutions and competence. Kongsberg is leading within automation, navigation and control systems while RollsRoyce Marine is complementary with its deliveries of propellers, propulsion systems, handling systems as well as the ship’s design. Together we are also leading within digitalisation, ship intelligence and autonomy.” Looking to the future, he agreed that the maritime industry has undergone demanding years, encompassing big changes, especially within offshore. However, he pointed towards new technology as a means of reviving the industry’s fortunes: “The maritime industry is becoming increasingly globalised and it is undergoing significant technology changes. There is still uncertainty as to how the future looks, but with a clear focus on technology and innovation we see considerable opportunities.” Under Mr Håøy’s watch the company is now involved in several pioneering autonomous technology projects, such as the Yara Birkeland self-driving shortsea freighter, with chemical firm Yara, and the Norwegian Open AI Lab, alongside Telenor, NTNU, Sintef, DNV, DNV GL and Equinor. The Yara Birkeland project has received NKr133.6M (US$15.9M) in support from the Norwegian Government and in August this

year, Vard Group was awarded the contract to build and deliver the vessel. Speaking at the occasion of the contract signing, Mr Håøy said: “Yara Birkeland will be a very important project for us. Kongsberg has an ambition to be on the forefront of the technology of the maritime sector and this Yara Birkeland project will be a project for us to develop and deliver the future technology of the maritime industry.” Meanwhile, together with Wilhelmsen Group, Kongsberg launched the world’s first autonomous shipping company, Massterly, in April this year. Speaking at the time, Mr Håøy said: “Autonomy and remote operations are an important development for the maritime industry and Norway’s lead has been made possible as a result of close co-operation between the Norwegian maritime cluster and the Norwegian authorities. “In recent years there has been rapid development, driven by a significant increase in demand from customers worldwide, from the traditional maritime industry and others. When autonomous ships soon are a reality, Massterly will be crucial for digitalising the infrastructure and operations.” Speaking at the signing of the joint venture to establish Massterly, he said: “We see a development of more opportunities in autonomous ships and Kongsberg, as a technology provider, saw that we needed a partner with competence within ship operations and ship logistics.” He continued: “Autonomous operations and autonomous ships – I believe we are just seeing the start of it. I believe that Norway as a maritime nation has opportunities to take a leading position in that future.” Commenting on Kongsberg’s Q3 results presentation in October 2018, Mr Håøy said: “I think the third quarter is a good quarter overall for Kongsberg Group. I’m very pleased with order intake in particular in Kongsberg Maritime.” He added: “I’m also very satisfied with the order intake in Kongsberg Digital, especially in the marine simulation division.” But Mr Håøy cautioned that while the order intake from the maritime market had been strong this quarter, “it is important to emphasise that the market is still challenging, which means that both margins and order intake can vary considerably from one quarter to another.”

Bio Name: Geir Håøy Job title: chief executive officer, Kongsberg Education: Vestfold University College

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Allan Leatt

chief executive, IMCA

Bio Name: Allen Leatt Job title: chief executive, IMCA Education: Aston University, Cranfield University Recent favourite books: biographies of British prime ministers, The Churchill Factor, Man of Iron, Thomas Telford, Spitfire, John Nicole Favourite app: Citymapper Who you admire within industry: Jean Cahuzac (Subsea 7); David Dickson (McDermott); Edward Heerema (Allseas); Thierry Pilenko (TechnipFMC) Who you admire outside industry: Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela Interests outside work: DIY


highly qualified engineer and trained commercial diver, it is perhaps of no surprise that International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) chief executive Allen Leatt is someone who immerses himself in the issues while maintaining good peripheral vision. He’s also accustomed to making decisions with reduced visibility and in three dimensions. The training has served him – and the industry – well in the three years he has been at IMCA’s helm. Since 2015 Mr Leatt has refocused the organisation and concentrated on taking out costs and raising service levels to the membership. Review of the board line-up, delivery model and balance sheet denotes good progress. Historically, IMCA, as a trade association serving the oil and gas markets – somewhat paradoxically – has not been that close to the oil companies. “We have now turned that around,” said Mr Leatt. “We have a cadre of highly experienced oilfield executives from the marine construction world who are actively involved in promoting IMCA directly to oil company executives. The objective is not financial, but engagement, to help us improve the performance of the industry alongside all our members, as we have 50-plus oil company members.” Following a strategic review in early 2017, the organisation identified three areas for further development and established pilot committees to concentrate on: the digital oilfield; environmental sustainability; and standardisation. “The digital oilfield of the future looks to be far from clear,” said Mr Leatt. “I think we are all excited about the possibilities of

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

advanced automation and system communication, but the subject is likely to be much wider and driven by data gathering and data analytics –­­which is where the story gets fuzzy. Where offshore contractors fit into that digital value chain is still to be determined, but for sure we will be there – such as with a single source for data interpretation on a project.” IMCA has also made a concerted move into the renewables market “which is evolving and maturing to the point where the larger oilfield contractors can bring plenty of expertise and technology to the table.” While port hook-ups, battery systems, hybrid systems for DP spinning reserve and LNG fuel are starting to be introduced, and are to be encouraged, Mr Leatt’s firm belief is that a major step change needs incentive. “Where there is a clear economic incentive, the change will be much more rapid and successful. We see this being successful in the auto industry but not yet in the shipping world.” More immediately, the organisation is heavily involved with IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) on its greenhouse gas emissions strategy. Next year sees the start of the data recording stage (fuel used in m3, distance travelled in nm, and time underway in hours). “We have been active in the MEPC and have drawn to the committee’s attention the special situation of DP vessels, which will make the development of a meaningful 'transport work proxy' very challenging,” explained Mr Leatt. For 2020, Mr Leatt believes OSVs will be much less affected technically by the sulphur cap of 0.5% because, by and large, they run on marine diesel oil and are therefore well within the limit. However, the impact of the regulations might be seen in other ways, such as supply-chain choke points. For 2030, the IMO target is to reduce transport work CO2 emissions by 40% compared with 2008; it aims for a 70% reduction by 2050. “Over the next decade we will see the transition to lower emission power systems,” said Mr Leatt. “The 2030 target is ambitious, because the offshore industry has gone through a complete fleet renewal in the last decade, but the 2050 number is much more achievable, given the maturity of alternative technologies that we will see and the inevitable fleet renewal by that time. Targets are essential but so are incentives, if you use incentives, positive or negative, you get things done. So economic incentives will likely be needed to accelerate action.” For 2050, the IMO target is for total CO2 emissions to be reduced by 50% compared with 2008; this has to be seen as “very achievable.” Mr Leatt is generally less inclined towards corporate speak and company mantras. However, much like a diver responding to new depths he believes it’s important that the organisation can recalibrate. The best way, he suggests, is by responding to key questions: “Is this where I am good? Is this where I excel over others? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, it’s time to surface and think again.”

Allen Leatt (IMCA): A meaningful IMO “transport work proxy” is very challenging


René Kofod-Olsen

chief executive, Topaz Marine


iven the prolonged downturn in the oil and gas sector, it is surprising to learn that a chief executive of an offshore support company has actually been turning down business opportunities. Saying no, however, is one of the ways that Topaz Marine chief executive René Kofod-Olsen has steered his company through the choppy waters of what he calls “the worst industry conditions since the 1980s.” “Having come through the crisis it would be daunting to say ‘yes’ to all the various projects and even consolidation invitations,” he said. “But having the ability to actually say ‘no’ if it was not a clear, positive valuation for the company is not always easy. That is another thing I think we have done pretty well over the last 12 months.” Mr Kofod-Olsen has been intent on finding a competitive structure for Topaz that will give the company the best strategic footing to build for the future and to weather uncertain market conditions. He and the company have managed to resist the impulse to move away from the profit-per-ship strategy they set in 2012, in response to the challenging market conditions he dscribes as “the new norm.” “It can be tempting to just have more ships and more portfolio,” he said. “We have always had the view that we should make the most amount of money per ship, not have the most amount of ships to make money on, and there is a difference in that.”

Bio Name: Rene Kofod-Olsen Job title: chief executive officer, Topaz Marine Education: latest being, Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School Leadership motto/mantra: daring to challenge, so tomorrow we can do even slightly better than today! Favourite book: currently Factfulness by Hans Rosling Favourite app: WhatsApp, to simplify communication Who you admire within industry: the seafarers who are out there doing battle with extreme seas and weather but get the job done Who you admire outside industry: Roger Federer. Perfection wrapped in humility Interests outside work: my family and the great outdoors

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

In practice, Topaz’s strategy is a carefully cultivated shift away from a traditional asset-focused model, to create a service-driven business. “Coming out of the crisis it is clear to me that it is important to own ships, but it is paramount to have a portfolio of services,” Mr Kofod-Olsen said. “We are transforming our company fundamentally to a more service-orientated business, and I believe that is the necessary medicine for the industry.” More generally, among the many keys to success in business, Mr Kofod-Olsen highlights culture as paramount. “I think culture drives everything in a business and it can’t be understated,” he said. “You can have the most brilliant written strategy, you can have all the right cornerstone visions and missions, but if you don’t have an underlying culture where everybody understands what to rally behind, I think you will never have sustainable value.” With this in mind, Mr Kofod-Olsen explained that his business is driven by being “humble to the numbers”; that is having the ability to adapt when necessary and courage in the face of change. “You shouldn’t really be afraid to make changes,” Mr Kofod-Olsen said. “It can hurt and when it has to do with people, many times you are waiting six to 12 months too long to make the necessary decisions. You need to be able to make those tough decisions and be able to explain why you had to make those decisions.” “[As] leaders, we can’t procrastinate in the face of big, big change,” he said. Two of those big, big change agents involve digitalisation and global climate change. “I think the language of the 21st century is really data,” he said, “so we have a very strong culture of data flows in Topaz today.” All of Topaz’s vessels are, according to Mr Kofod-Olsen, equipped with 21st-century communication technology. The company’s internal social media platform is designed to promote visibility and transparency, giving personnel on board a clear view of what he and his leadership team are doing. Topaz is heavily involved in monitoring the efficiency of its vessel logistics and Mr Kofod-Olsen explained that the vessels and those on board can now perform many of the operations previously conducted on shore. “Unleashing everything that has come out of technology on board the ships is the future for everything that we do,” he said. “That is a big part of our future; to embrace digitalisation to a level that has never been embraced in our industry before.” Mr Kofod-Olsen said he believes wholeheartedly in the oil and gas sector. He acknowledges that coal must be removed from the energy mix, but is not convinced that batteries and their reliance on rare metals are the clean energy solution the world requires to halt the damaging environmental effects of climate change. “You cannot look at it from a binary perspective as oil being a great pollutant; the energy mix is quite different than just that. I believe that the energy needs of the world will, for many, many decades to come, include hydrocarbons,” he said.

“We have always had the view that we should make the most amount of money per ship, not have the most amount of ships to make money on�

Hüseyin Şanlı (Cemre Shipyard): Combining youth and experience to understand disparate requirements


Hüseyin Şanlı

deputy general manager, Cemre Shipyard


üseyin Şanlı has risen quickly through the ranks of the Cemre Shipyard in Altınova, in Turkey’s Yalova province. At 38 years old, Cemre’s deputy general manager has been with the shipyard since it began in 2006, taking a position in rented space at the naval shipyards in Tuzla. “In the first two or three years, we didn’t really have a shipyard, [our operations were] all over the place,” he said. “We moved in 2008 into our own facilities in Yalova from Tuzla.” From that time until the present, Mr Şanlı, who is trained in naval architecture and marine engineering, has worked in most of the departments at Cemre shipyard, including time spent as both a project engineer and a design engineer. Given the breadth of his experience and his tenure at the yard, coupled with his age, it is perhaps no wonder that he lists both youth and experience as integral to success in business. “The main keys are a mix of youth and experience, technology, knowledge, research and development, social rights, environmentalism and highly experienced engineers,” he said. Mr Şanlı said although his shipyard is young, it is full of experienced personnel, including the production managers and the department managers who bring in-depth knowledge to the shipbuilding process. Mr Şanlı’s primary focus is to ensure he has the right combination of people, technology, training and processes in place to support the shipyard’s good working relationships with its customers. It helps that the company can understand its clients’ often very disparate needs: “We carefully study [each project] because in each different kind of vessel there are very different operational processes. We know how to build ships, but operations-wise it is very important to remember the shipping companies are more experienced than us.” This approach facilitates good conversations with the shipowners and it is from these conversations that decisions

to finalise a project or agree further work with the shipyard stem. Following a 10-year expansion that saw Cemre grow from 20,000 m2 to more than 170,000 m2, Mr Şanlı said the yard is now investing in technology. It is on track to complete an automated panel line welding system by 2020 and is restructuring its organisational processes, aligning them with the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software programme. “We are not only investing in automated efficiency, we are also investing in creating efficiencies for our workers and around social activities for the yard’s employees. We will also add educational programmes in 2020,” explained Mr Şanlı. Turning his attention to some of the larger industry trends, Mr Şanlı believes electric power, ‘green’ solutions and digitally powered systems and applications are set to dominate the industry’s thinking over the next few years.

Bio Name: Hüseyin Şanlı Job title: deputy general manager, Cemre Shipyard Education: Naval Architechture and Marine Engineering Leadership motto/mantra: “Youth and experience” Favourite book: the biography of Steve Jobs Favourite app: 6Sigma Who you admire outside industry: Bill Gates Interests outside work: soccer, swimming and fitness

“Every day our smartphone applications are growing, so you can create more things with your phones – new software and maintenance systems and new electronical solutions will be very important in the future,” he said. Mr Şanlı pinpoints 3D-modelleing and digital-twin technologies as key digital tools that will make a big difference at the Cemre shipyard. “I think our main difference, when comparing us to other competitor shipyards, is that we are 100% modelling the vessels. So, each component is visible in the 3D model,” he said. While acknowledging the technology is used in most shipyards, he noted that Cemre’s thoroughness set it apart from its rivals. “For example, they don’t 3D model for equipment less than 100 kg,” he said. “And navigation systems, they don’t model. But we are modelling more or less 100% of the vessel’s systems and components.” It is part of Mr Şanlı’s leadership style to knit these observations together and share them with his team, to help focus the group’s work on an attainable goal. “I prefer to maintain integrity within my company, and I [try to be] a humble and empathetic leader,” he said. “My leadership style is transformational leadership because most of the time I prefer to motivate my team by sharing a vision of the future.” “We have many different targets and in the offshore segment each project is extremely critical; each one has to be carefully decided, carefully studied.” Mr Şanlı believes leadership is “not just managing a group of people”; rather it involves offering a vision, communicating and allowing the team to provide input on a project and giving them the capability to do their jobs. As for the sector in general, Mr Şanlı sees signs of life emerging: “I feel that offshore has started to move again from the commercial activity we have seen – our offers have risen in the last two or three months. We have 11 projects that our business team is studying right now.”

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Steen Karstensen

chief executive, Maersk Supply Service “


ou should never let a good crisis go to waste,” – it’s a great quote and one that Steen Karstensen attributes to an undetermined wise person speaking at some unknown historical crossroads. The lack of detail certainly does not detract from the relevance of the quotation for an industry that has been through some very hard times of late. Mr Karstensen quickly offers up another gem, again from A.N. Onymous, “It is in the good times that we get poor.” This one may require a little elaboration and Mr Karstensen is happy to oblige. “When things are going well as a company you have a tendency of building all sorts of functions and processes and investing in this, that and the other because you can afford it,” he says. So when all the money has been spent during the good times, the risks increase in times of hardship. “When you have the crisis on your hands, which we have certainly had for the last years, together with everybody else in the industry, it requires some very, very difficult decisions which impact not only your company but also a lot on your colleagues. That side of things is obviously very, very hard.” Appointed Maersk Supply Service chief executive in 2016 in the midst of the crisis, Mr Karstensen was straight away faced with difficult decisions. He chose to see them as an opportunity to move the 50-year old business in a better direction through careful investment. By way of example, he cites more than US$1Bn of investment in 11 newbuildings – all agreed before the downturn – with the final vessel of the innovative Starfish-class to be delivered by January 2019. He moves on to the “intangibles” of capacity and competency building, through investments borne out of the diversity strategy that the company introduced in 2016. The first example of the company’s “integrated solutions” portfolio involved decommissioning projects in three fields in the North Sea; the second, to tow a very large FSO from Singapore to the North Sea for Total. These represent “key highlights for us, in as much as we now have these competences solidly on our resume,” he said.

Bio Name: Steen S. Karstensen Job title: chief executive, Maersk Supply Service

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

Looking ahead, Mr Karstensen said the company has focused on diversification, commencing a partnership with Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, involving itself in deep sea mining in the Pacific with Canada’s Deep Green Resources and – along with Maersk Drilling – establishing a new joint venture company to offer packaged decommissioning services. The company has also joined up with environmental non-profit The Ocean Cleanup to help remove plastic from the ocean. “These things do not come easy because you need to invest upfront and that is a little bit hard to do when you don’t really have the bottom line for it,” he said. “Nevertheless, we have seen a clear need for this diversification, partly of course to give us some relief in the near term, based on the fact that the oil and gas activity, our traditional activities, are somewhat down. But of course, also with the view of positioning our company for the future.” Future planning, according to Mr Karstensen, works on lengthy horizons at Maersk Supply Service. “We have long-term ambitions for this company; we want to be around not just for the next 10 years, but also for the next 50 years,” he said. And, again, the prospect of diversification is central to their plans. “There are certainly many, many good years left in the oil and gas industry, but if you plan to be around in 50 years it is probably a good idea that you have other things on your list of capabilities than oil and gas,” he said. “Clearly the renewables industry is growing; there is a large potential and a lot of companies are tapping into that. We do see that as a very important part of the future.” Still, the Maersk Supply Service investment strategy does have its limits. According to Mr Karstensen, these are applied when looking at a cost-benefit analysis to incorporate new technologies. “Quite frankly I think there is a need, at least for us, to draw things down to reality and say right now we are in a super-tough industry with huge overcapacity. Pretty much every day you come to work and it is a little bit like guerrilla warfare, where you fight from house to house, or from contract to contract,” he said. “So, when you are in a situation where you are losing a lot of money, as we are certainly doing, and which I believe is the same case for most in the industry, then there is a limit to how much you can invest into artificial intelligence or anything else. I would love to have an app that could predict the spot market in the North Sea and I would love to develop it, but that is just not where we are right now.” If there is one simple idea Mr Karstensen applies to business, it is clarity in setting strategies. And he does not spend too much time worrying about the legacy of past decisions. “We just have to acknowledge that there have been extremely big changes in the industry and that requires a big transformation. So, what was the order of the day and was a great decision five or 10 years ago is not the same today. That is business, that is life; you adjust and move on.”

Steen Karstensen (Maersk Supply Service): Clear strategies help to adjust and move on

Venkatraman Sheshashayee (Radical Advice): “How can we use less and get more?”


Venkatraman Sheshashayee managing director, Radical Advice


lmost every single board and every single chief executive in the sector has been focussed on survival over the last four years. In October 2014 Venkatraman Sheshashayee, or Shesh, as he is commonly known throughout the industry, was recruited by Miclyn Express Offshore (Miclyn) as chief executive officer. His tenure coincided with four of the most tumultuous years in the OSV segment’s history. At the point of his departure, Miclyn’s vessel utilisation was about 74%, and the company’s revenue and margins were significantly improved. “The most critical decision we took was to refocus our organisation by strengthening our commercial activities and focussing on three specific market categories. Up until that decision we had a very wide range of assets and realised that in some asset classes we were just ‘me too’ players.” Crew boats, project solutions and specialised vessels were designated the future, while South East Asia, the Middle East and West Africa would be the exclusive theatres of operation. “We put all of our resources in to backing our strategy. It was a tough decision to take but we realised we did not have the resources to focus on all of our vessels without pinning ourselves to the ground.” Central to the success of the strategy was communication. “I have learned you have to constantly communicate and interact with the external markets, with partners, with clients, with vendors, with consultants, brokers, with your employees, with everyone. One of the things I have realised, especially when markets are bad, is most senior managers tend to circle their wagons. That leads to increasingly ill-informed decisions which only perpetuate problems.” Shesh retired from the organisation in April to set up a new entity, Radical Advice, in May. “When I joined Miclyn, I said to the equity funds that owned the company, I was willing to give three or four years. It was always my ambition that by the age of 55 I would move out of corporate executive roles and focus on the two things which I have always enjoyed most: strategy and people.” Shesh now spends time guiding SMEs and start-up companies in building and transforming their businesses. He also mentors numerous professionals to help them achieve their potential. His corporate clients include an e-commerce company that improves vessel and rig supply chain efficiency and a nanotechnology company focussing on sulphur cap compliance. “I believe there is a wonderful solution for the sulphur cap, which is far more effective and far more cost effective than scrubbers.” He is also a strong believer in battery-powered and LNG-fuelled vessels. For all his enthusiasm for new technologies and fuels, he laments the fragmented nature of our industry and there are three areas which he has always felt have not been well served: strategy; people; and technology. “I understand the constraints we face. I understand the last four to five years have been horrible for offshore. At the same

time, I am unhappy that owners and senior management are not embracing the future and building forward-looking strategies. This has always frustrated me. A characteristic of boardroom thinking whenever new approaches are raised is ‘are the others doing it?’ Then when the information filters through that the others are not doing it, interest quickly fades. The net result is to say: ‘why don’t we wait?’ ‘Let’s see what happens’. “I strongly believe senior executives, management and boards need to spend more time on strategising. Get an economist on board with an understanding of the environment today and tomorrow. For example, George Mitchell revolutionised fracking in 2003, but it was not until 2012 that people realised that shale is going to change their lives forever. Companies must invest in environmental scanning and looking forward at least 10 years. “We also spend too little time and effort in developing our people. Typically less than 0.2% of revenue is spent on actual training and development. That is something which needs to change. “We also need to open ourselves more to technology. How can we make the entire system more effective, more efficient? Here I mean technology in its broader sense. What can we do to make the production of oil and gas, which is what we are all there for, more efficient and productive? How can we improve communication? How can we improve fracking? How can we have better dashboards? How can we have better logistics? How can we use less and get more?”

Bio Name: Venkatraman Sheshashayee (Shesh) Job title: managing director, Radical Advice Education: Indian Institute of Management Bangalore; DMET Favourite books: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach; The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey Favourite app: WhatsApp Who you admire within the industry: Diederik de Boer; Charles Fabrikant. Also would mention Great Eastern Shipping’s Bharat Sheth Interests outside work: tennis, reading, writing articles and short stories. Teaching migrant workers English and basic business skills. Occasional TV, including Designated Survivor and The Blacklist

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Vivek Seth

managing director, MPS


s chief executive of Hallul Offshore Services Co, Vivek Seth was responsible for leading Qatar’s largest marine operator. A challenging job by any standards became even more complex when a Saudi-led coalition severed diplomatic relations and banned vessels from entering their sea routes. “I had to go and find vessels and put them to work in a very short time span,” Mr Seth recalls. “It was challenging. Critical to our success was being decisive and not wasting time cogitating. Ultimately it was a big success. We delivered within the budget, the mandate that we were given by the board. The vessels were accepted by the client and without pulling in additional resources.” Four steps inform Mr Seth’s leadership philosophy: first, make sure you have the right team, which in his words is “a highperforming team”; second, give that team a purpose to achieve; third, give them the morale and material resources to achieve; and four: “Get out of the way!” In common with a number of the leaders we spoke to, Mr Seth also feels that the

industry needs to get out of its own way too. The answer, he believes, lies in further consolidation and standardisation. “A vessel is a commodity that transports cargo from A to B. Why pay a premium for that? What needs to be created is value.” One way of achieving this is through the ‘Uberisation’ of the industry, where spare capacity becomes shared capacity. “As an industry, how many vessels calling at a platform are under-utilised? Often they run on 40% utilisation because they were ordered in the belief that ‘one day I will need more’. We really need to take a leaf out of the containerisation industry. In short, we need to ‘Uberise’ the carriage of cargo, rather than just the vessels,” he explains. This focus on service and optimisation characterises his new role as managing director of MPS, a new company he founded himself operating out of Dubai. “The problem is we are a very reactive industry and unfortunately, extremely fragmented. The top 10% of the shipowners own only 25% of the world fleet. So, we react on one side to what the client tells us and on the other side to

Bio Name: Vivek Seth Job title: managing director, MPS Education: Undergraduate: Marine Engineering and Research Institute (Ex DMET). MBA: University of Manchester – Manchester Business School Favourite books: Best Practices: Building Your Business with Customer-Focused Solutions by Arthur Anderson Favourite app: WhatsApp Who you admire within the industry: founders of Tidewater, the Laborde family, Larry Rigden, Robert Allen Who do you admire in wider society: Richard Branson. Roger Federer – “he was a temperamental person as a child, very aggressive. But he worked through his emotions and he is cool as a cucumber today” Interests outside work: tennis

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

“Can we use this crisis we have had, the worst for 40 years, to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes? From consolidation to digitalisation, we need to seriously rethink our business”

what the supplier tells us. “If the supplier says this is the latest technology, we will try to adopt it. But somewhere down the road we need to have a more uniform approach to digitalisation. Be it from Uberisation or the standardisation of certain processes. Logbooks strike me as ripe for this approach. We need to get over the idea we are ceding competitive advantage if we share these ideas. We need to look at some kind of open platform where people just come in, give their ideas and take them out. “Can we use this crisis we have had, the worst for 40 years, to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes? From consolidation to digitalisation, we need to seriously rethink our business and the banks need to join us in thinking ‘how can we do something better for this industry?’.” One approach would be to address the issue of manpower, which Mr Seth cites as a main concern: “At the end of the day, when the business is not doing well you need to develop people, prepare them for the upswing. Because anything that goes down must go up. We have not done that during the crisis. How many people with an operational background are actually staying around the industry? Not many.”

Vivek Seth (MPS): Helping owners get the most out of their fleets

Mike Meade (M3 Marine Group): “We parted on the best of terms and today [former employers] Seacor and Swire Pacific Offshore rank among my best customers�


Mike Meade

chief executive, M3 Marine Group


y his own admission Mike Meade is an upstart who is good at starting up – and developing – companies. While he learnt his trade working for some of the sector’s biggest names, he says that often these entities need conformists: “That was always fine by me. We parted on the best of terms and today [former employers] Seacor and Swire Pacific Offshore rank among my best customers. The key thing was never to burn any bridges.” Since striking out on his own and setting up M3 Marine in 2005, Mr Meade has seen both the highs and lows of the industry. M3 Marine Group has four subsidiaries which offer consultancy, brokerage, valuation and remote inspection services. The brokerage was the most vulnerable during the downturn. “We didn’t lay anybody off but we allowed natural attrition, so numbers went down from 14 to about seven. In 2016 I had to make the decision whether to start to let people go or invest, because the business wasn’t generating any cash flow. I decided to invest. It was a sound decision because in 2017 it turned the

corner and in 2018 things are better; notice I didn’t say good, I said better. I reckon it is going to be another six years before you see wholesale ordering of OSVs, drilling rigs, and so on. You will see one or two specialist vessels being ordered for specialist markets, but not the wholesale ordering of days gone by.” He is equally clear that digitalisation will disrupt the market, but it too has yet to meaningfully arrive. “We are still waiting for the key game changer, an ‘iPhone moment’ in shipping. We’ll know it when it’s here.” Mr Meade has placed his bets on drone and small ROV inspections. “We started that about a year ago and are working with the Singapore MPA and a few other bodies to develop tools and methods to underpin innovative ways of inspection work.” One example is taking cathodic protection readings of difficult to reach spaces utilising drones. His staunch view is “we are in a survival rather than an innovative market”. Talk of innovation in the present market is ‘overplayed’. He’s read with interest the column inches devoted to two new Seacor vessels fitted with

Bio Name: Mike Meade Job title: chief executive, M3 Marine Group Education: left a Liverpool comprehensive school at 16 to go to sea. INSEAD MBA modules when at Swire Pacific Offshore Leadership motto: add value Favourite books: Biographies, especially people from the music industry, Tom Clancy novels, James Clavell Favourite app: Egnyte Who you admire within the industry: Rory Deans of Sentinel Marine, Quentin Keen, Gulf Mark, Charles Fabrikant Interests outside work: cycling, music. Plays in a band and attends concerts all over the world, including Franz Ferdinand, Howard Jones and Bob Dylan

spinning reserve batteries and sees it as ‘interesting but not earth shaking’. “Reducing your fuel burn with expensive low sulphur fuel and having a spinning reserve is a worthy concept. With DP redundancy concepts adopted by most clients you need spare power and what tends to happen is that spare power is engine driven. This means you are burning a lot of fuel to keep the redundancy in play. So, on these vessels with battery conversions, any excess capacity generates the spinning reserve in batteries. In the event of a failure the batteries kick in. This is quite different from true hybrid power, which in time will be the way forward.” There is a similarly qualified view on autonomous vessels. “These are going to be ok for short sea trades where you have a specific cargo that is the same every day and goes from A to B, mainly on short sea routes. You are never going to get a DSV alongside a platform with divers out of the bell with no ‘human’ control on the bridge.” But there will be fewer crew on board replaced by a lot more automation, a lot more cameras and a control centre monitoring operations. We still have a lot of inefficiency in the business and this is where you will see the change.” The immediate future is not bleak. “We have employed new people this year because as vessels start to reactivate they need more surveys, audits, inspections and reactivating these laid-up vessels is not as easy as people think. Nobody had ever laid up wholesale fleets of DP2, diesel/electric, electric-controlled vessels, in environments like China, Batam and Malaysia, where you have over 65% relative humidity, 100% of the time. Even, warm-stacked vessels, when reactivated, are not immune from problems.” Numbers on the brokerage side have also been grown. “We are not seeing an increase in charter rates and that increase in charter rates will not come for some time,” he stresses. “What we are seeing is increasing utilisation.”

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018


Marcel Roelofs

general manager, Chevalier Floatels BV Bio Name: Marcel Roelofs Job title: general manager, Chevalier Floatels BV Education: The HAN University of Applied Sciences Leadership motto: trust all levels in the organisation with responsibility – but don’t forget to verify! Favourite app: MarineTraffic Who you admire within the industry: chief executive of Ampelmann, Jan van der Tempel Who do you admire in wider society: Warren Buffet. Elon Musk, pre a certain interview! Interests outside work: going walking with my dogs; Koi Carp


ather than push ahead with new acquisitions that will expand the fleet, Chevalier Floatels is promoting risksharing contracts with clients. “We are willing to participate in the weather risk, especially when it comes to winter contracts,” says Chevalier Floatels BV general manager Marcel Roelofs. “We sometimes take over the complete fuel risk for the client for a lump-sum fee,” he adds. “We have done so many projects we know the fuel consumption of our vessels and are willing to take a risk on that basis.” Staying with fuel, the company is also engaged in pilot studies around adding hybrid propulsion. “We are doing feasibility studies with a potential client around reducing their CO2 output. Offshore wind should be in the forefront here, but it tends to lag. When it comes to tenders there is very little emphasis on fuel consumption; some clients will still look at the lowest possible day rate and they are not concerned about the fuel consumption. That seems to me a bit at odds with the purpose of building a wind park, which is to further the environment.” He generously credits competitor, AKTA, as being very brave in speculatively building two vessels exclusively for the offshore wind market. “Of course, most vessels in our industry are adapted subsea vessels. It is a big gamble, but [it] also demonstrates leadership.” Mr Roelofs would like to see charterers assert more long-term leadership. “It is in their interest to support companies that are doing the right things. Larger contractors have such a range of options in this market but need to avoid the temptation to back those who cut corners. At a certain point, companies that have financial trouble will try to find any solution to save costs. Of course, a charterer must look at the low day rate, that is [its] duty, but it also can one time go too low. They also have a responsibility to make sure there is a supplier base for them that can deliver good products.” He concludes: “I think it is going to be another 12 difficult months. To survive will take creativity and flexibility.”

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

Marcel Roelofs (Chevalier Floatels): “[Charterers] have a responsibility to make sure there is a supplier base for them that can deliver good products”


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Nigel Parkinson managing director Caterpillar Inc

Bio Name: Nigel Parkinson Job title: managing director, Caterpillar Inc Education: Exeter University and Manchester Metropolitan University Leadership motto: feedback is the breakfast of champions Favourite books: The Naked Leader by David Taylor. Favourite app: BBC News Who do you admire in wider society: Nelson Mandela Interests outside work: Family – I am a father of four – and rugby


Nigel Parkinson (Caterpillar Inc): Encourages an environment of fun and purpose, in both bad times and good

Offshore Support Journal Industry Leaders 2018

igel Parkinson’s major decision over the last 12 months has been to maintain investment levels in the marine business at Caterpillar. “There have been three major investment points for us,” he says. “First, we see that gas as a fuel is going to be the major link between where we have been historically and electrification. As an industry we will move down the path towards electrification and more hybrid vessels.” Second has been Caterpillar’s work around developing a multiengine optimiser system, designed to help customers save fuel. “We are creating fuel maps of engines that identify the most efficient combination and configuration of an engine. In our trials and early customer experiences we are seeing double-digit fuel savings.” The third investment point Mr Parkinson refers to involves digitalisation. “We have some very basic connectivity products that allow us to connect a product in a quite basic way, whether that is location tracking and basic diagnostics through to our intelligence offering, which is at the advice, care and partner end of digitalisation,” he explains. “Here our data scientists are able to use some pretty complex algorithms around forecasts to predict downtime, probably before any chief engineer on board the vessel can predict the downtime.” The company is now refining its offering by working with classification societies to reduce times between overhauls and operating costs for customers. “I strongly believe that continuous improvement comes from that feedback,” says Mr Parkinson. “I often put a slide up in front of my team showing a map and a photograph of the earth from space. It has 71% on it, which is the percentage of the earth that is covered in water. I put that up there to promote to my team in the Caterpillar marine business that almost three quarters of the world is covered in water; that means there will always be demand for vessels in various applications, regardless of prevailing economic trends and market movements.” Mr Parkinson is a student of leadership – he even has a master’s degree in it. “Vision, execution and legacy are critical for any leadership position,” he says. “I think another element for success in good times or bad times is making sure that there is an environment of fun and people feel good doing what they are doing and feel that they are serving a purpose.” OSJ

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