The big question: How has your leadership style changed in the last 12 months?

With COVID a distant memory, when it comes to leadership in a changing and booming energy market, the latest EIC Survive & Thrive Insight Report reveals that business leaders now have a much more straightforward mindset. As attention turns back to the job in hand, how have leadership styles changed in the last year?

Ann Johnson

Business Development Director at Blaze Manufacturing Solutions

You would think that having a company that has successfully diversified across four markets, with key clients firmly established within each sector, is a success in its own right – but coupled with an order book that stretches into 2030 and an existing sales pipeline of more than £50m, it seems that there are challenges in every quarter.

The need for multiple disciplined staff is essential to success, along with tight planning and business controls, which have become the new priority. Financing multiple types of projects means forecasting cash flow is even more key. The markets outside oil and gas are more litigious, with complex terms and conditions and multiple external audits, making your health, safety, environment, and quality manager’s head spin. Never has the need to share knowledge within the company been more key to success.

We can now be more selective over who we tender to, ensuring we give all four sectors equal attention

On the plus side, we can now be more selective over who we tender to, ensuring we successfully give all four

sectors equal attention rather than chasing the golden fleece. Don’t get me wrong, we have kissed a lot of frogs, but we are on the other side and it’s all thanks to the improved contract controls we have in place. There is never time for complacency.

Blaze Manufacturing Solutions Ltd is a privately owned business providing technical safety and loss prevention solutions in the oil and gas, renewables, nuclear, mining, commercial and industrial sectors. The company provides everything from the front-end definition of concepts, detailed design, supply and installation, and the commissioning and maintaining of active fire extinguishing systems and fire alarm systems both in the UK and internationally.


Hugh Fraser

Managing Partner at Hugh Fraser International (HFI)

First, during the past 12 months, HFI’s management style has undergone significant transformation, driven by the rapidly evolving business environment.

Second, we have shifted from survival tactics to growth tactics – talent acquisition, know-how development and embracing cutting-edge software technologies. The COVID-19 months, time rich for planning, have now moved into action days for implementation.

Third, an uncompromising emphasis on results, solutions and service levels for clients, and with a fresh look at differentiation and unique selling points. We cannot be complacent that past successes will be replicated in the future.

Fourth, a stepped diversification outwards from our petroleum technology roots towards energy transition technologies via an initial focus on oil and gas decarbonisation, rather than a headlong charge across turbulent unprofitable waters. Strategy is the hardest management task to get right but the key to success is when the strategic decisions are optimised.

HFI supports clients to establish, expand and divest their international businesses through strategic, value-added consulting and legal services, combining specialist know-how, connections, local partners and execution expertise. Its focus is on ventures which combine advanced energy technology and know-how with opportunities in the key territories of the Middle East region, including joint ventures, acquisitions and divestments. HFI’s clients are principally private equity-backed companies driving the energy transition.

We have shifted from survival tactics to growth tactics – talent acquisition, know-how development and embracing cutting-edge software


Obehi Ojeaga

General Manager, Business Development and Corporate Affairs at Nigeria Machine Tools

The energy sector is a significant contributor to the Nigerian economy. It has undergone developments and challenges during the last 12 months that have shaped our business. As the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria’s production levels have been fluctuating due to various factors, including global oil price volatility and domestic security challenges, subsequently affecting industry performance.

With the energy markets evolving, we have embraced a more adaptable and agile approach. The sector requires well-informed and strategic decisions, which has led to a big shift towards a more data-driven approach, utilising market trends and insights to identify growth opportunities, re-evaluate current business strategies and allocate resources effectively. Consequently, the activities coming upstream in the sector, geopolitical events and policy reforms/changes have led to an increase in stakeholder involvement and collaboration. We have focused on building strong relationships with key stakeholders, such as suppliers, customers and regulatory bodies, to ensure effective partnerships and navigate market challenges in a collaborative way.

In order for us to focus on the future, promote our core and strategic vision, drive change necessary for organisational success and ensure sustained growth and improvements, we have had to embrace a hybrid of innovative and collaborative ways. This involves fostering a learning culture within the organisation, encouraging continuous skill development, technology and upskilling employees to adjust to market changes, thus promoting a flexible work environment to respond quickly to emerging opportunities.

The sector requires well-informed and strategic decisions, which has led to a big shift towards a more data-driven approach, utilising market trends and insights

Finally, our transformational strategies have enabled us to boost productivity, inspiring employees to achieve more by tapping into their potential. It has created a new level of motivation where competencies are identified, enabling us to mentor for better results where gaps exist. In the past 12 months, we have achieved remarkable creativity in our workforce, which has informed

our business prospecting activities in the face of challenges and enhanced our processes and efficiencies – thereby elevating opportunities for growth.

Nigeria Machine Tools is an integrated industrial engineering, manufacturing and technical services company offering precision engineered products and services to meet operation and project needs across various industries, including the oil and gas, defence, maritime, construction, manufacturing and telecom industries. Originally set up predominantly to produce machine tools, the company has since metamorphosed into a dynamic organisation creating sustainable value by taking strategic advantage of its strengths and promoting a pedigree found on quality consistency, professionalism, expertise and trust.