It is nearly nine years since I started Commodity Search Partners in a small office in Brighton, near the seaside and with grand plans to go global. Today, I’m proud to be unveiling Proco Commodities, as we’ll now be known following our merger two years ago with the Proco Group.
For our clients, not much will change beyond our name – we are still the same firm, still the same people, and we certainly won’t be changing our style. But as part of Proco we now offer a much more global partnership, and a more holistic offering across the energy and commodities supply chain.
I set up CSP all those years ago because running my own business was something I had always wanted to do. I didn’t enjoy working in large multinational recruitment firms, and I thought I could do something better on my own terms, working with people I wanted to work with. I launched the business a month after the global financial crash, in October 2008, and weeks before the birth of my first child – things were never going to be easy!
But CSP was always about being different and challenging the traditional recruitment methodology, which is exactly what Proco Commodities does today. We aim to work as partners with our clients, by offering unique and valuable perspectives on the market, helping them navigate alternatives, and providing ongoing advice and consultation between searches. We aim to build relationships based on shared knowledge; we like to share the insights and understanding we gather by networking across the industry on a daily basis.
It’s a strategy that thankfully worked from day one. Our first year of business was the most fun I can remember: we hit the ground running with a first placement with RWE Supply & Trading in October 2008, and other early clients included Trafigura, E.on (now called Uniper) and Centrica. We worked with companies that had been loyal to me in the past – they were majors, trading houses, investment banks, consultancies and law firms, across EMEA, Asia and the Americas.
We quickly grew to a team of six and debated whether to stay small and profitable or to invest the profits back into the business, start hiring and open more offices around the world to service our clients. The latter option seemed less boring and had the potential to be far more rewarding. We opened in London and expanded into New York in 2010, allowing us to offer clients a much more global footprint as they looked to develop their presence in new geographies. Moving into North America, we hired local talent rather than relocating people from the UK, so that we could truly understand the local businesses, requirements, and networks.
It was in 2010 that I approached Richard Paisley, the CEO of Proco Group, to join CSP’s Board, as I was making big decisions on behalf of my employees with limited experience of growing a business internationally. Rich also started out in Brighton, and his background in building international recruitment firms was something I lent on greatly as we sought to work with our clients across all their functional areas and locations and to deliver on our promise of providing tangible ongoing benefits for clients, candidates and colleagues alike.
Now we are plugged into Proco Group, with a global reach spanning 10 cities, and a shared vision to resolve resourcing challenges and build careers across every area of supply chain – by matching the right people, to the right roles, in the right companies around the world.
Becoming Proco Commodities helps us ensure our best consultants remain engaged and motivated to keep exceeding clients’ expectations, and that as a business we continue to offer something more than our competitors. That has always been at the heart of this business, and it will remain so as we continue to do what we do under a new name.