THIS MONTH WE SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON GEOFF HENDERSON, WHOLESALE BUSINESS MANAGER, WHO TALKS US THROUGH A 20+ YEAR CAREER WITH PHILLIPS 66 LIMITED AND THE VALUE OF A PURPOSEFUL, COLLABORATIVE APPROACH.
Tell us about your career, to date, with Phillips 66 Limited.
Prior to joining Phillips 66 I had two other job offers - one of which was accountancy - so my work life could have been very different! I’m very glad that I chose Phillips 66 and the rest, as they say, is history.
I started in 2001 - originally in our Warwick office as a supply co-ordinator looking after the replenishment of our key terminals and then I moved into retail pricing for a year and then became a retail account manager looking after the Midlands region. In 2008 I became transport contract manager in charge of the routing and scheduling from the Warwick office (in those days it was handled in-house) and contract manager for South East and Scotland hauliers. In 2012 I moved over to wholesale as an account manager and then became commercial sales manager before taking on my current role in 2021.
You were promoted to Wholesale Business Manager in September 2021. Can you tell us what drew you to the role, the main challenges and your ambitions for the business moving forward?
It’s a big role, it’s a big area of our business and I was 100% ready for it. It really did feel like the right time for me and it’s a role that can benefit from my experience and I feel able to ‘give back’ to the business. It also gave me the opportunity to broaden my scope as this job also includes the specialty side of wholesale which is really interesting and an exciting area for growth. I’m also able to draw on some of the successes from my previous roles – leading a successful team, growing gasoline sales, plus entering the South East market with gasoline supplied from Humber - and I’m proud of that and take confidence from it.
When it comes to challenges - they’ve been well-documented - and in reality, we are yet to experience the full impact of global events. Our primary challenge is to navigate a customer focused path through those changes and to find workable solutions.
When it comes to energy transition, the challenge there is to secure the infrastructure and the availability of the product. And it’s tough, because there is an element of risk, of ‘test and learn’ to build that infrastructure, to have the product available in the market. And we are competing with smaller, more nimble companies and the bigger players too. So we need to keep talking to our customers, breaking down barriers while keeping the focus and confidence to drive ahead with the strategy.
Moving forward, there are lots of opportunities for growth including the marine part of the business. People like our product, they like our service and we do it well.
It’s a time of transition for the industry - what do you see as the primary challenges in 2023?
Making sure we are delivering on our commitment to our customers is absolutely critical to the success of our business. Constantly improving, constantly looking at how we can make it better, be better. And in practical terms that means, accuracy on invoicing, security of supply and nurturing the relationships we have with our customers. It’s about being collaborative, listening to what they have to say - being upfront and straightforward. We wouldn’t be where we are today if we avoided difficult conversations! Good communication is absolutely key to our service and our culture.
How do you approach being an effective leader?
From a team perspective I love working with the experienced people but I also love coaching and mentoring those who are younger and new to the business. Supporting them to be successful.
I like to empower everyone to make their own decisions, to tell me how they would approach something and the reasons why. I also think constructive, real-time feedback is important and being clear on our goals and objectives. Having a clear sense of purpose is vital in leading a successful team.
Tell us something about you we don’t know.
In May this year I am cycling to the Alps with 2 of my mates – We aim to do this in 6 days.
Give us three words that sum up the attributes you need to fulfil your role.
Open, purposeful, good-listener.