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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | April 28, 2017

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Tributes to Robert Morgan

Tributes to Robert Morgan
Jamie Liddell

Many, if not most, of you will now be aware of the tragic death of sourcing advisory great Robert Morgan. Further to my earlier report, I can now share details of Robert’s funeral, which will be held Thursday. June 25 at 1.15pm, in St Mary’s Church in Bures, Suffolk (UK). A wake will then be held at Robert’s pub/restaurant, the Stockwell in Colchester.

In my aforementioned report and my introduction to this week’s OutsourceXpress, I put out a call for tributes to Robert; ahead of next week’s formal commemoration, here are some thoughts from several of those who knew, worked with, and loved Robert. He shall indeed be sorely missed.


Without any doubt, Robert was a pioneer and a towering presence in the IT/sourcing/outsourcing industries. As an entrepreneur, he forged and grew a consulting business – Morgan Chambers – that, although long since absorbed into other organisations, is still thought of as a market leader. It is a mark of Robert’s personal standing in those industries that, long after he left Morgan Chambers, he was still being sought out by his former clients at the time of his untimely passing. It is a mark of the man that he inspires the genuine affection and loyalty of his current and former colleagues. Robert was a man of many ideas and parts. What you saw and what you got were not necessarily the same. Robert was a big man physically and in his personality. Like all entrepreneurs and leaders, he was driven and spirited. He could seem overpowering and dominant at times. But he was also generous, unselfish, gentle, thoughtful and interested in people. He listened, too.  He was interested in art and the theatre. But above all Robert was a family man. When he spoke of them his love for and pride in his children was obvious, as was his admiration for Maggie. I was privileged to have served on the board of Morgan Chambers with Robert and to have worked with him before and after. There will be few men like him.
Mark Lewis
Head of Commercial, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP

Robert Morgan was one of the better lunch companions in this industry. Not only was he a good trencherman but also an excellent raconteur, with a great passion for the outsourcing industry. His city background gave him a particular grip on the mechanics of constructing deals and his broad experience fuelled a creative viewpoint on how outsourcing should develop. He was certainly provocative on occasion, but as a trusted advisor built high levels of respect in both the client and supplier communities. Robert was keen to make a lasting contribution, always looking for new models and new approaches to further the success of client /supplier relationships. His contribution as father of the sourcing advisory industry in the UK and, indeed, Europe is well recognised, as well as his enthusiasm and generosity of spirit. I shall miss my friend and lunch companion.
Nicholas Brown
VP Industry Relations, Ciber

Robert was deeply involved in the outsourcing industry, forming his advisory services firm and growing it to become one of the leading firms in the industry. He was well known to all of us on the sell side as a challenging and thoughtful provider of advice and guidance to clients whether they were buying new or renegotiating an existing contract. He was always driving to build systems that could be reused by clients so they built their skills as well as worked with him to solve their problems. Clients where I had recommended Robert and his collegue Jean-Louis Bravard were always impressed with the depth of insight offered and the ability to generate a number of solutions to the clients problems. I had a beer with Robert not too long ago and he was full of new ideas for another set of industry offerings and was brimming with enthusiasm to get going on them. That’s a good way to remember him.
Sean Finnan
Managing Partner, Sean Finnan & Associates

Robert Morgan will be sorely missed. He was a legend in the outsourcing industry.
Amanda Lewis
Partner, Dentons

I’ve known Robert in a professional capacity for 12 years, meeting him for the first time when I was Marketing Director at EDS, and he was advising on a large deal. At all times in my dealings with him over the years, he has been consistently fair, open, honest and direct (very!) and above all has always required the highest standards of integrity and decency from those he interacted with, which he led by example. A few years ago, we discovered a shared history with Rhodesia. He, as you know was born and grew up there, and my father died out there in ’79 with very little information on what happened. Robert made it his mission to uncover people and information to fill in the gaps, taking a very personal interest in helping me get to the truth. He was a true gentleman – extremely sensitive, and passionate about those and that which he cared for. His incredible ability to get inside the hearts and heads of people in our industry has never been matched, and I can’t see him ever being replaced. As the founder of the outsourcing advisory profession, his standards were set high, and hopefully his legacy will continue to set the bar for his fellow advisors. I am deeply saddened that our industry has lost a ‘giant’, and I have lost a friend.
Catherine Luckman
Head of Advisor & Analyst Relations, Atos

The charm of the outsourcing industry is that it’s small; everyone knows everyone else. So it galls me to say that I don’t believe I ever met Robert personally – I only knew him and his companies by reputation, although I do know a number of his colleagues. But the fingerprints of pioneers like Robert don’t quickly fade away. Robert, you made a difference.
Deborah Kops
CEO, SourcingChange.com

I have only known Robert for six months, and our meetings have been brief in that time, but I felt a sense of genuine loss and real sadness when I received news of his untimely death.  Robert was a man with honour and decency in a world that increasingly lacks both, where his word was his bond.  He saw the best in people and in turn got the best out of people.  He is and will be missed.
Phil Stout
Project & Programme Manager, Perseus Project Management

I worked for Robert in the 1990s at Morgan Chambers and more recently at Burnt Oak. Robert was an inspirational leader; someone you could not help but admire and respect. His knowledge of business was huge – his network of contacts was vast. He loved being in the cut and thrust of the debate, loved a challenge, and would always come forward with innovative ideas. The outsourcing industry has lost its greatest ambassador and I have lost a great friend. He will be sadly missed.
Alan Welsh
Associate, Burnt Oak Partners

I worked with Robert on a number of client engagements over the past five years. He was always a pleasure to work with because of his general positive demeanour and energetic approach. He encouraged everyone involved in an outsource process to collaborate with each other – from service provider personnel to independent advisors to the various client stakeholders. He displayed that effortless authority that industry pioneers have, that makes everyone run in the same direction even if they have different preconceptions or mismatched political ambition. When I last met Robert we were enthusiastically discussing ways to develop the markets in continental Europe and he was at his innovative best. I will remember him as one of the most influential and entertaining Sourcing Advisors I have ever had the pleasure to work with.
Edward Gardner
Associate Vice President, HCL Technologies

Robert never took things on in half measures. When I worked with him on the writing of Smarter Outsourcing, which he co-authored with Jean-Louis Bravard at EDS, he threw himself into the project wholeheartedly to pour a lifetime of outsourcing expertise into a book executives would keep going back to. No matter the long hours spent on edits and revisions, Robert always came up with a good angle. Many people will remember his willingness to challenge the status quo and be outspoken about how the outsourcing market was evolving, but I have to say that he also listened to other people’s input. When it came to how we would finalise key elements of the book he was comfortable taking advice too. In the years following Robert often took a little time out to give me advice and act as a soundboard for my ideas. His knowledge of the industry was consummate and I will miss his counsel. His knowledge and expertise will be missed by all those who had the pleasure of working with him.
Daniela Zuin
Director, Marketing, IPsoft

Robert was bigger than life and was passionate and unafraid of speaking his mind about any subject, any large firm or person. In a world of political correctness he stood out and right or wrong he energised all of us. His voice and passion will be sorely missed. I lost a friend and I do feel deeply for his lovely family whom I had the privilege of knowing. I would love to hear about his dialogue/arguments with the purgatory front desk and the front and back office in the sky.
Jean-Louis Bravard
Director, BurntOak Capital Ltd

I was shocked and saddened by the news of Robert’s death. I worked with him and for him at Morgan Chambers from 2004 until it was sold to EquaTerra in 2007, and without doubt they were my happiest working years. Robert was the most inspiring of people to work with, his enthusiasm and energy seemed to have no bounds, neither did his ability to think outside-the-square. He was always coming up with some amazing ideas, which the team had to then deliver and he couldn’t quite understand how sometimes we struggled; he believed he had done the difficult bit by coming up with the idea. His driving force was to bring his and the teams experience to bear on an outsourcing deal, which he combined with his ability to negotiate a truly win-win deal for both supplier and customer, based on his belief that it was in the client’s interest that the supplier made a profit. This approach clearly differentiated Morgan Chambers from all other outsourcing consultancies, which resulted in having equally good relations with both supplier and customer. On a personal note he was a major influence in my life as amongst other things he taught me the benefit of exceeding the client’s expectations, no matter what the cost. Robert was a truly larger-than-life character and I for one will miss the great man.
Edward Kirkby
Consultant, Information Technology Outsourcing Advisory

Robert was a giant of the outsourcing industry in many ways, both in stature and personality.  I believe he was a key creator of the Sourcing Advisory industry, not just outsourcing but also insourcing. He was well liked by all the consultants at Morgan Chambers and built a great organisation, of which I was proud to be asked, by him, to be Chief Executive. As a man he was kind, good company and could always be counted upon to give you his honest, and personal, view regarding sourcing and IT Service matters. He will be badly missed and I am sure I speak for all of his former colleagues in giving our sincere condolences to his wife and children. Robert was immensely proud of Morgan Chambers, its staff, capabilities and culture and rightly so. I remember the day he asked me to become Chief Executive, I was completely shocked, not only did I have the opportunity to be in charge of Europe’s leading sourcing consultancy contract, but Robert was offering to work for me. But that described the man – he was more proud of his achievement than his own importance. He achieved lots, helped a lot of people and moved our industry forward. I will miss him.
Bob Fawthrop
Former CEO, Morgan Chambers

Comments

  1. Brian Chandler

    Robert Morgan, Top, top man. I was one of the original Morgan Chambers Directors when the company first started and have been a good friend of Robert’s ever since. Tragic news, I will miss him.

    cheers

    Brian Chandler

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