BJ has enjoyed a diverse variety of roles within Johnson Matthey that have given him global experience across the UK, Europe, the USA and Australia
BJ Williams, B.Eng Chemical Engineering with Minerals Processing from the University of Birmingham; joined Johnson Matthey in 1995 as a Process Development Engineer
When I talked to my university friends, I realised what a high level I was working at from the outset. They were sitting in offices doing small projects, whereas I was commissioning an expanded silver nitrate plant, working in the real commercial world, getting the best out of people and improving the quality and throughput of the product.
After a year, I moved from development to production. I liked the change in pace, as the work was continuous with challenging targets. I was constantly doing something different: making decisions, sorting problems and providing technical advice. During that time Johnson Matthey supported my educational needs – I wanted to learn Chinese, which I did at evening classes!
This led to a fabulous opportunity based in Hong Kong in a commercial role providing technical and marketing support to local sales managers across Asia. I used my technical skills to understand customer's needs and provide solutions – while seeing places I never dreamed I would visit.
Applying knowledge in new countries
I used this as a stepping stone to move to the US and for six years I managed our US jewellery sales team based in New York. Yet another set of challenges to maximise sales opportunities, motivate staff and solve problems. There are always opportunities to be grabbed.
Jewellery products are not unlike the type of products PGM users in the Industrial field require and I moved from New York back to the UK to take up a managerial role in the Noble Metals Europe business. Managing eight staff we covered a huge range of customers and technical applications across the globe.
The next stop on my journey was Australia as Sales & Marketing manager for Johnson Matthey Australia based in Melbourne. The business straddles Medical, Nitro-Technology, Industrial, Brazing and Chemical we have a diverse group of customers spread across Australia, New Zealand, SE Asia and the South Pacific. I spent four years there tackling the major issues that the business faced and loved the Australian way of life and the proximity to fantastic diving in the South Pacific!
Round the world and back again
My current role is based in the City of London – another great opportunity that I grasped with both hands as I never expected to work 'in the City'! Never afraid of a new role I've joined the Group Legal Compliance team as Business Engagement Manager. In this role, I will be part of the recently formed Group Legal Compliance function which is focused on the risks to the Johnson Matthey Group from bribery, corruption and money laundering and from breaches of law relating to competition, trade control, data protection and financial services regulation. My aim will be to help embed a culture of compliance throughout the Johnson Matthey Group businesses.
Reflecting on Johnson Matthey
Looking back I can't believe what a wonderful ride it's been and how lucky I have been to live and work around the world. I've already experienced a wide range of roles – both technical, commercial and now legal based. I have gained management skills and know what it takes to run a business. I'm now looking forward to getting back into London life and working towards my next opportunity in this growing and diverse company!