Globally impactful programme management
It was like entering another world. In February 2008, BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company with revenues of $59.5B, launched a $147B hostile bid for Rio Tinto, the second biggest with revenues of $57B. The deal had massive implications for international resource prices and national and international economies.
The Rio deal table included senior bankers from Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Macquarie, NM Rothschild, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan Cazenove. No deal they’d ever been involved in had had independent programme management. The Rio deal team were all brilliant minds, some of them impressively young. Deal Director Phil Mitchell was more focused, determined, commercial, insightful, driven, challenging and fiercely loyal than anyone I’d ever worked for. He wanted a neutral party.
My job was simply to build the (global, complex) plan and daily call script to support Phil’s vision and the international financial, legal, commercial, and technical effort to deliver value for Rio shareholders. Guiding and supporting a complex daily international effort that crossed timezones, resource industries, competition regimes, strategic analytics and operational businesses, I learned an amazing amount and am grateful that I was given the opportunity of a seat at the table.
In November, BHP walked away, citing increased global market turmoil and falling commodity prices.