John Ramage is the chief operating officer of International Registries, Inc (IRI) and its affiliates, which provides administrative and technical support to the Republic of the Marshall Islands Registry (RMI), one of the largest flags, with a prominent position in the industry
When Mr Ramage joined RMI Registry in 2002 it was a small organisation, but over the next nine years it grew significantly. “In 2011 I was asked by the president of IRI, Bill Gallagher, to take on the role of chief operating officer,” says Mr Ramage, adding “I would say my career path has been organic.”
Mr Ramage has been in his current position since April 2011 and his impact is clear from the growth of the flag since that time.
“I have always tried to make a difference and make changes. I am not one to go with the flow,” he says. As chief operating officer, Mr Ramage has introduced regular meetings with regional and departmental heads to prepare and plan for growth, recruiting staff and restructuring as required. “This had to be done while maintaining the high-quality service we are known for, as well as hitting the global benchmarks from IMO, USCG, and Port State Control,” he says. “As the number of worldwide offices and staff increased, we had to make sure our people understood the various international regulations and our internal procedures to provide a consistent level of service. To achieve, this we introduced a comprehensive training programme to educate while maintaining quality.”
By way of example, IRI has a training matrix which highlights the skills each individual requires to carry out their tasks and the training required to reach the next level. However, Mr Ramage is not convinced that leadership can be taught. “It is not a question of nature or nurture – a leader needs to understand the business and the people.”