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Kevin  Gallagher

  • Programme: Senior Executive Programme
  • Nationality: American
  • Job Post-programme: Global Account Director, BT Global Services

Career

Kevin has worked for Croda Inc for 30 years, having started out as an applications chemist there. He joined the Executive Committee of Croda International plc in 2007, so taking on global management responsibilities in addition to his role as President in the US subsidiary. Kevin attended SEP in September 2008

Having accepted an additional global role with Croda International plc, Kevin took the recommendation of two colleagues to attend the SEP, in order to move outside his management ‘comfort zone’ and gain a more international perspective.

He found the programme invaluable in honing his management skills and providing him with the experience of working among a diverse group of participants. As a self-confessed “hard-charging, results oriented” type, he was surprised to find that it brought about changes in his behaviour and, as a direct result, improvements to the dynamics within his US team.

Kevin was very impressed with the quality of the lecturers. His learning, plus the coaching he received following the 360 degree feedback, helped him to understand that although his team was performing well, he needed to spend more time examining how they were interacting, and how he was perceived by them. On his return, he used what he learned to get a better understanding of the team’s potential; as a result the team devoted more energy to their work, Kevin himself learnt to withhold immediate judgement, allowing less vocal people time to discuss their ideas with him, and a need was identified for some ‘awayday’ training, which proved very successful.

Since the SEP, Kevin has continued to develop as a leader. He has started to ask one of the attendees to observe him during his monthly vice-president meetings, and give him feedback after it. He has found that this acts as an internal warning, and helps him to make small changes to his behaviour where necessary. He has also introduced post-meeting surveys, and is delighted that one of his team noticed the word ‘candour’ on the survey sheet and brought up an issue in a meeting which he otherwise would not have done.

His performance on the global team has also been enhanced. Members of his peer group on the Executive Committee had contributed to the 360 degree feedback, and on his return, Kevin discussed with them how he was perceived. In engaging in these high quality conversations, he has succeeded in advancing his working relationships with his international colleagues.

A few personal questions

What is the most embarrassing moment of your professional or academic life?

I missed a plane once, and I’ve double- booked a meeting and questioned my professional competence. I drive myself mercilessly, and was in danger of doing that to others before the SEP.

Who in your life has inspired you the most?

When I first went from labs into marketing, I worked for Kurt Neulinger who was a marketing genius. I learned so much from him – he was my first burst of inspiration in management.

What is your favourite pastime?

I am an amateur astronomer – I have several telescopes, some of which are small enough to take on planes when I go away – I meet my friends, drive off to deserted runways away from light pollution, and look at the stars.

What’s the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

“There’s always the choice between doing things right, and doing the right things” – Peter Drucker “Stay genuine, be yourself, but with just a little more skill” – Rob Goffee, on the SEP.