Dr Adam Kent joined Maritime Strategies International (MSI), where he is now managing director, in the early 2000s as an analyst and was instantly hooked on both shipping and market analysis
“You can never learn everything about shipping; some may see that as a hurdle, but I have always thought of it as one of the positive aspects of being in the industry,” he says. “MSI has given me a great platform to build my knowledge across sectors, both from the micro to the macro perspective, I never felt I needed to go elsewhere to fulfil this aspect of the role. What I was able to do, however, given how MSI operates, was to build on my knowledge and help develop the company and the products we offer to our clients.”
Dr Kent sets himself challenges every few years to encourage both professional and personal development. “That is something that is particularly important if you are staying within the same organisation,” he says. Dr Kent’s leadership role was not part of a carefully laid out roadmap, but developed organically as he progressed through MSI. “A transition within the company about a decade ago enabled me to step up to director level, giving me a lot more input into the day-to-day running of MSI as well as helping to shape the underlying strategy. The opportunity to take the next step and become managing director in 2018 was the natural progression to my career.”
With regards to his leadership style, Dr Kent says “I have taken some of the aspects [other managing directors] instilled and have fused these with the leadership techniques I saw during my time in academia and from others inside and outside the industry.”
He notes that there is not a perfect leadership style; rather a leader must find a way to build trust and create effective, productive communication channels to achieve results. “This process does not stand still; as the company evolves and as the personnel develop, changes have to be made,” he says.
“The two biggest changes I have made in my leadership role have been to put in place systems that enable clearer, more regular communication channels, both horizontally and vertically, and establishing a management board to develop MSI’s business strategy, current and future product initiatives and areas such as corporate social responsibility goals.”
In the last 12 months, MSI has also opened an office outside London. “We are actively recruiting to augment the team and have already developed new client relationships that would have been a lot more difficult to kick-start from London,” he says.