Sunday, 19 December 2010

Au revoir Phil

How do you say farewell to a man like Phil, on his retirement ? You just can't. Period.

How do you even begin to say farewell to somebody who has spent 42 years in the company. No that's not a typo. The number is right. FORTY TWO years of sterling service to the company. He has seen it all - he's seen the company's many victories and some setbacks. He has seen people come and go. He's seen history being made ; well, he made much of the history.

Phil's an Australian and typifies everything that's great about that country. Sporty, fun loving, thoroughly professional, amazingly warm in a non sentimental way and above all, a wonderful human being. I bumped into him on a lovely barmy day in Sydney in 1994 ; an instant friendship grew that carries on to this day and will undoubtedly carry on for a long time more.

I could go on and on about his professionalism. He's the only person I have ever known who drove an initiative that was right for the company, even if it meant his job was going. He's amongst the rare breed of men who's untainted by even the faintest whiff of corporate politics. Scrupulously fair, unfailingly honest, brilliant at execution, but rarely bothered about acclaim - seeing Phil renews your faith that such people still exist.

But even more than his professionalism is his ability to build fabulous relationships with people across the world. Across nations, across cultures, across geographies. I've seen him in tough negotiations out of which would emerge friendship , not bitterness. He virtually redefined the concept of win win in a business relationship - in every deal I have known him to do, both sides won. Now how many people in the world can lay claim to that.

As he became a senior statesman in the company; his energy actually grew, not diminished. I've seen many brilliant people become cynical and static as they age in a company. Not Phil. He actually became younger. He became even more energetic, if that was possible . Every youngster was treated as a friend and equal ; not an ounce of condescension. He was still at the forefront of company dos even as his retirement was looming.

He has a love affair with India. He's been here many times and has hosted countless Indians in Sydney. He's taken us to innumerable restaurants for many a warm evening. He's taken us to the Sydney Cricket Ground to see Indians play. When all didn't go well for us in business, he stood by us like a rock. He's guided and coached many many of us during times of trouble. He showed us how to imbibe the wonderful Australian spirit of winning fairly. Phil's an Indophile in the true sense of the word. In fact, one of his granddaughters is actually named India.

Thank you Phil for everything that you have done, for what you are and for the incredible relationships that you built with so many of us. You leave a wide gaping hole in the company as you retire. I know that in your typical way, you would say somebody else will pick it up and do an even better job and that the business would go on. But the place won't be the same without you Phil - not by a long chance. And many will miss your presence deeply. It so typifies you that you would be missed not only inside the company, but by every outside organisation you have dealt with.

Many readers of this blog know Phil personally and I invite you to record your thoughts in the comments section.

Au Revoir Phil. Thank you for the friendship and wish you much happiness in the years to come.

Phillip L Cox retires this week after 42 years of sterling service to Unilever round the world.


hansjoerg said...

Thank you Phil for all your the support and trust you gave me personally and my team and Capgemini in the last 4 years. For all your patentience, for not telling the young that you have seen it all before, instead helping us to achieve and go beyond. I know Phil only 4 years out of the increadable 42 in business, but you made a difference to me and to all of us in this short 4 years. I wish you Phil all the best for your returning to Down Under, all the best for your next phase in life. We will miss your support and encouragement, thanks to modern techology I hope we stay in touch.

Vishal said...

I was not fortunate enough to meet or work with this great man. Indeed, 42 years of service is a long time and I salute Phil for everything that he has done over the years. It gives me immense joy to know about his statesmanship and professionalism. Such men are rare... isn't it? And in fact, once you get to meet such people, the influence kind of rubs off in every walks of one's life. That was gem of a post about gem of a person, Ramesh! I wish him great times and happiness ahead!

gils said...

WOWW...42 years in one company!!! i wud be surprised if i even live that long!!! :) truly must be a rare breed

KC said...

Hi Ramesh, I met Phil through my TL (Kachroo ji) in my first assignment. Kachroo told me that he is a friend of Indigo. I didn't quite understand until i met him and saw how he saved me from Steering committee review. :) Phil's an amazing personality, very kind and a true getlement. Words don't exist for explaining commendable and surpassing 42 years of service to a Company. Congratulations on the retirement and wish you ever-lasting happiness.

zeno said...

You are one blessed person to be associated with such great personality For a moment, I even thought I was reading about a fictional character. As Vishal said a gem of a post!

Ramesh said...

@ All - Thanks for your comments. I'll keep the comments on this post "clean" , without my acknowledgments for this to be a sort of pristine farewell to Phil. So please pardon my not thanking you individually for taking the trouble to comment.

RamMmm said...

That was not a farewell, but a heartfelt salute to the man who has been driving your organization. Trust you have already said (or mailed) the same to him, as you bid him adieu.

Varughese Unni said...

I have been acquainted with Phil from 2003 when i first moved to Bangalore and we worked closely during the last few years.

Phil is very passionate in whatever he does, a very good listner and good guide/mentor.

Thanks Phil for all your support and trust you had in me.

I wish you all the very best in your future endevours and God Bless You.

Neelesh said...

Amazing to see time really pass by so quickly. I still remember the Ricky Ponting Cutting which Phil had couriered all the way from Sydney to be showcased in our office, (Ha Ha) Friendly matches we played without Batting or Bowling a Single Ball !!!, Surprise!! that is the Spirit which Phil gives us all. He is a very Cricket follower Fan.

He is also very Fond of Indian Dishes which he was enjoying in TGIF !! Phil you are still welcome here anytime.

I have worked with Phil from the Day 1 of my SS life, the challenges he gave and equally Supporting to complete the same was really great and I enjoyed working in all projects. He never misses an Opportunity to recognize anybody for the work completed.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same. Phil is one of them who has really touched my Heart in all ways.

Good Luck, Phil..
Will keep disturbing whereever you are !!

Sanjay Jindal said...

I am privileged to have an opportunity to work with Phil last 3 years. Any number of adjectives is not going to be sufficient to portray personality like Phil…. Professional, Balanced, Unassuming, open, transparent, positive, collaborative, Fair and honest ,guide and coach.. you can go on and on…

Thorough professional as he is, Phil could always take a very fair and balanced view of any issue. I know so many instances when I was thinking in one direction either positive or negative but Phil will come in and give a very balanced view. His solution will always leave you with feeling of him being fair and win win. It always enabled me to be open and transparent with him.

He always encouraged new thinking and supported any new initiative. He always considered any idea with open mind and provided necessary guidance. Phil tried to support and share his past experiences with a view to enrich the proposed solution. He believes that things can happen even if some of them have been tried in past and failed. He will coach and guide you as to why it failed in past and how one should not repeat those mistakes again.

Phil carries a very positive attitude. He is a great team player and great as a person to work with. He never attempted to find faults and fix responsibility but was always interested to know problems and how things can be improved and made better.

Phil, You have been a true guide and coach for me. I have learned a lot from this association with you and will cherish for my life. I was in a new job and probably in new world but you were always behind me and supporting me to take right steps. I could not imagine, even in my dreams, to have someone in your position with whom one can speak one’s mind and rest assured that you will get a fair deal. For me personally, I have cherished every moment I have spent working with you. You have created a place in my memories and I will cherish this association for rest of life. I am sure I will continue to give your example to many of my colleagues and perhaps clients.


Sanjay Jindal

raghavendra kotla said...

I had the chance and pleasure of working with Phil for the last 18 months reporting to him. I have seen both kinds of managers, some are task oriented and some are people centric. Phil is a manager who balances both very well. His energy levels are on par with a career starter and yet times we need to rush to catch his speed. Works like an ant, haven't seen him not doing anything for a minute. A great human being, person with integrity, for whom Unilever comes first. Very humble, when we received a global appreciation on the project we did, the memento had his name and he mentioned at least 10 times that it is wrong that only his name is there, entire team name should be there. Learnt a lot from him. Will surely miss him in the work place. I wish him a great, healthy, life ahead.

Guys like him are not manufactured too frequently, and we need people like him in this world.

Chennai Vibes said...

Dear Phil,

I actually owe my BPO career entirely to you. If it hadn't been your vision to do outsourcing for Unilever Australia as the first Unilever country to do so, I would not have joined Indigo as its first team lead and manage its operations.

Of all my BPO experience, I found you to be a very understanding customer. Rarely you ever wrote a scathing email when something went wrong until and unless you were sure where the root cause of the issue was. Again you were very professional in these matters.

The support you gave us during the AR transition was important given that you had moved out of your position at that time and new manager had taken charge. Your support helped us go through difficult times during that transition...

Lastly it means something for someone like Ramesh to write a blog for you. So I guess that is itself an achievement.

Well 42 years in one company, is that a world record!!!!. Perhaps we must find out...

All the best mate....

Sandhya Sriram said...

there are very few people who can be warm yet thorougly professional, demanding yet caring, understanding yet result oriented, focussed yet always willing to mend course if in the right direction and as you beautifully articulated - "Scrupulously fair, unfailingly honest, brilliant at execution, but rarely bothered about acclaim "

Rare and one of his kind - Phil - I wish him a very exiting and delightful post retirement phase

Vinod said...

I haven't had the privelege that many of the earlier commenters of this blog have had of being privy to 'the Phil touch', at work , nevertheless, I have had the good fortune to have interacted with him in forums at my current employer's of whom he is a great supporter. The most striking part of Phil that I have realised is his simplicity as a person which radiates and touches you. I have found that in business his ability to trust partnerships and take it to a whole different level of maturity is excellent.I am humbled to have met and interacted with such a great person and wish him all the best for all his endeavors in future.



Syed Hassan said...

I have had the opportunity to interact with Phil on projects relating to Unilever Singapore & Malaysia and I fully agree with your views about Phil.

Inspite of his super busy schedule , he was also instrumental in organizing for very important sessions on a weekly basis regarding Safety and made it a point to bring good speakers every week to share their thoughts on a variety of very useful topics in our office in Singapore.

Wishing Phil all the very best and a happy and peaceful retired life after a very long and fantastic innings in Unilever

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