Today’s news that Scottish energy services giant Wood Group is to take over rival PSN in a £600million-plus deal means that PSN chief executive Bob Keiller will be the focus of media attention again.
The Aberdeen entrepreneur has been frequently in the headlines since energy service group PSN was formed in May, 2006.
Many of the stories have been for his outstanding business achievements, but his company has also been praised for helping an Aberdeen factory which employs disabled people.
The Glencraft factory, which manufactures beds and furniture, had been forced to close in November, 2009, leaving more than 50 people jobless.
In April this year, PSN stepped in with a rescue package backed by the Scottish Government.
After the firm paved the way for Glencraft, which was established in 1843, to reopen as a new business venture, 35 of its original staff were able to return to work.
Mr Keiller, 46, hails from Jedburgh, in the Borders. The father-of-three’s career in the oil industry in Aberdeen goes back more than 20 years.
After graduating in 1986, he worked as an engineer for BP, becoming a chartered engineer in 1990. He was then headhunted by a technical consulting company, where he worked for two years.
Mr Keiller was targeted again in 1992, by oil producer Amerada Hess.
Further career progression at Amerada Hess would have disrupted his children’s education with overseas postings, so an offer to join Halliburton in January 2002 was irresistible.
In May 2002 he became head of UK operations for the production service division of Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR).
He refocused the business, assessing key strengths, divesting non-core assets and improved tender success from one in 10 to nine in 10. Following this success, he was made global managing director of the division in 2004.
Recognising the business model for production services differed from the rest of KBR – it was less capital-intensive and had a lower risk profile – Mr Keiller saw the opportunity to hive off the division. His management team secured more than £200million of funding and created PSN through a management buyout.
Mr Keiller’s new boss to be, Allister Langlands, has had a career with Wood going back almost two decades.
However, Mr Langlands may have found himself in a completely different occupation. When he was a pupil at Forfar Academy, he was sporty and fancied becoming a P.E. teacher. However, he went to Edinburgh University where he got an honours degree in economics.
He then became a chartered accountant and his career path led him to Wood Group.
In his 19 years at the company, the 52-year-old father-of-five has been part of the management team that has led to massive expansion.
Wood chairman, Sir Ian Wood, is recognised as the most successful Aberdonian at building an international business around the North Sea oil and gas industry.
Sir Ian is a well-known and respected figure and was knighted in 1994.
The 67-year-old father-of-three attended Robert Gordon’s College before graduating from Aberdeen University in 1964 with a first-class honours in psychology.
He then joined the family business, John Wood and Son, and became managing director in 1967.