Talent acquisition: Kieron Williams, CEO of PG Global
From the early days operating out of its founders’ London homes, PG Global has grown into its name: a specialist oil, gas, marine and energy recruitment firm with family at its heart and offices around the globe.
Algae is an unlikely starting point for a conversation with a CEO in the recruitment sector, but it’s hard not to get swept up in Kieron Williams’s excitement for what many dismiss as an unwanted maritime weed. “I’ve just returned from the Algae Biomass Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. I actually ended up staying longer than originally planned because it was all so fascinating,” he enthuses.
As he explains what he learned at the conference, it’s easy to understand the source of his energy. “You can dry it out at one point of its commercial life cycle and then you can start to extract the high-value products such as protein, DHA/EPA Omega 3s and colourings, and make an array of different products from it. But what really blew my mind is that what many people see as simply the scourge floating on top of the water is actually able to consume CO₂. It retains the carbon in photosynthesis and expels oxygen to produce biomass. It’s revolutionary.”
Kieron’s inspiration for the new venture was instilled in him by his idol and mentor, his father Roger Williams.
His passion for the renewable energy sector can be felt across PG Global, the specialist recruitment firm he co-founded in 2000 with business partner and current Global Operations Director James Sammut. “Clean energy and the new power generation is an area we’re getting much more involved in,” he says. As he looks to “be part of the clean-up of the mess in the world right now”, the visit to Phoenix starts to make sense from a recruitment perspective. “We can help out in our own way by bringing the best candidates to the energy industry,” he says. Identifying and placing talent is exactly what PG Global has been doing in the oil, gas and marine sectors since its inception. Once colleagues, Kieron and James found themselves redundant when the company they worked for ceased trading. “It really was a case of either being employed by someone else or taking control of our own destiny and giving our own business a go.” The latter won out.
Kieron’s inspiration for the new venture was instilled in him by his idol and mentor, his father Roger Williams. “He is a highly respected and successful businessman who told me from an early age: ‘If you don’t try, you will never know’.” Short on funds but big on passion, the men got to work launching the company from their London homes. Today the company has offices operating around the world, in countries like Malta, the UK, Norway, Singapore, the US and Angola (where it was one of the first recruitment companies to establish a presence). Kieron works from the company’s Maltese headquarters and an office recently acquired in the US, while James has remained in the UK. The significance of their new circumstances hasn’t been lost on him. “James and I have gone from driving to each other’s houses to flying to them,” says Kieron. Running a business from different time zones may have taken some time to get accustomed to, but, as with everything, they’ve approached it as a team.
“We’d each had offers for different jobs in different industries, but it really was a case of either being employed by someone else or taking control of our own destiny and giving our own business a go.
Judging by internal recruitment, PG Global excels at nurturing enduring relationships and succeeds in delivering exactly what it promises — the placement of the right people in the right role. “Our staff turnover is virtually zero. There are guys on our team who have worked for us for 15 years. That’s saying something when James and I have only been together for 16!” he laughs. As the company looks to further establish a presence in key markets around the globe, Kieron will increase his reliance upon what he identifies as “the biggest word I have learned in my career to date as CEO: delegation.”
Although both he and James take a very hands-on role in the daily operations of the company, he understands he can’t be the one with all of the ideas, all of the time. He says, “It’s about making sure we have the right people in the right places. Ours is a people business, so we have to make sure we have the right people with the right knowledge and the right capacity to do the job. Relationships are everything at the end of the day, externally with clients and candidates and also internally. With PG Global, James and I never set out to create a big corporate. We wanted the base to be family and built on principles of trust and loyalty. Our employees are family and they need to be looked after more than anything else. Without those relationships internally, there wouldn’t be any external relationships at all. Our staff are our family, and we are very proud and privileged to have such a great company full of wonderful people.”
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