Andrew Purton - Retirement
03 Mar 2023
After 33 years I retired as an Oliver Wight Partner in December 2022. My connection with Oliver Wight, however, was nearly 40 years having previously been a client in 3 businesses, attending my first OW public course in June ’83 prior to becoming Project Leader at York International.
Living through (and leading) a Class A implementation is truly transformational, not just for the business but professionally life-changing (as all who have done it can testify). It was the power of the Oliver Wight methodology, the business stature and success, and my own interests and skill set that compelled me to want to join Oliver Wight, and I became only the fourth UK Associate in July 1989.
At that time the OW business was all about public education – 2 overhead projectors, 2 flipcharts, choreographed use of OHP slides, a sufficient ‘dance floor’ in which to perform and work the attendees. The room set up the night before had to be perfect … the Oliver Wight way! This was the world of OW that I grew up in: a real art in presenting the message, infused with anecdotes from real experiences that had to have been lived, a stage performance, with acting and banter skills to hold your audience until 6 pm each day! The goal was to motivate and excite business leaders to change their business practices. When a Leadership Team ‘got it’ and made the commitment to change they would establish a business transformation journey and became clients.
Success in Oliver Wight was clear …. client success, client success, client success! Educating, workshopping, and coaching clients to that true business transformation that we, in Oliver Wight, recognised as Class A success. A clear objective… to drive our clients to Class A! Pride for the client and their success, and personal pride in facilitating their achievements. In my case, in the 1990s, standing in front of the entire workforce of employees whether Pilkington PE, British Aluminium Plate, British Aluminium Extrusions, Ciba Maastricht, or Caterpillar Gosselies to present them with their Class A award was always such a special moment.
Further IBP Class A successes were achieved with General Mills, Novartis Consumer Products, adidas China and W Europe, Thales, and multiple Bunge businesses.
Within the Oliver Wight business I was effective COO of EAME from 1994 to 2000; EAME Regional President from 2000 to 2008; 15 years as Chairman of the Oliver Wight International Board until 2015; Champion of the 6th Edition Class A Checklist and 7thEdition Class A Standard and Workbooks. Throughout, 30 years of continuously presenting the Oliver Wight message in public courses.
Integrity and service to the business were always at the forefront of my Oliver Wight managerial style, to live the OW ideals whilst enabling individual Associates to maximise their opportunities.
I have enjoyed great support from so many of you over the years for which I thank you. A special mention to Lawrie Rumens (as client and colleague) and Peter Hill for their support whilst managing the OW business; to Lloyd Snowden with whom I have work so closely, we having investing so much of our time on multiple iterations of the Class A Checklist/Standard & Maturity.
I have enjoyed some great long-term client relationships but would single out … Keith Martin at Alcoa, Joerg Fischer at adidas, Graham Court at Bae and Leonardo, Mohamed Elsarky, and Ian McKinnon for multiple opportunities and my good friend Robert Szasz with whom I toured the Bunge world.
I reserve my most special thanks to my wife Francisca and daughter, Olivia-Marie, for their continuous support and sacrifices over the years when, prior to COVID, the unfortunate side of a successful Oliver Wight career was that you were constantly away from home!
Time moves on and there are fresh challenges and opportunities for Francisca and I. Again, I thank you all for your help during my career and I wish you all success and the same career satisfaction that I have enjoyed. Thank you.