Plimsoll: A short history

On October 15th, we announced that Plimsoll’s executive search activities have been taken over by Venturn (find the full press release here). For Venturn, the takeover is a great step in realising the growth ambition we’ve set for ourselves in our 2020 strategy. By expanding our Executive Search, we create the biggest specialised consultancy in the maritime and logistics field. We are delighted to join forces with Plimsoll and benefit from their 34 years of experience in the international maritime logistics sector. In this month’s Voice, we look back on these 34 years: what was Plimsoll like as a company and who are Olivier and Dick Binkhorst?

Olivier Binkhorst and Dick Binkhorst

Olivier (left) and Dick Binkhorst

Plimsoll‘s name derives from the English coal merchant, shipping expert and politician Samuel Plimsoll, who was often referred to as “the sailor’s friend”. He made an effort for better social conditions and for more safety aboard ships. Gradually, the “Plimsoll mark” became a household word in the maritime industry and a symbol for security, reliability, stability and social advancement. And those are exactly Plimsoll’s core values.

Dick Binkhorst started his career in the maritime sector as a merchant navy officer: “From a young age I already told my parents I wanted to work on a ship.” Eventually he became a nautical expert and worked in a management function at several port companies. During this period he saw acquisitions succeed as well as fail. He also noticed the difficulties of finding new staff, especially adequate new management. The help of a general agency was often called upon, but those lacked the knowledge of the port community and transport world.

To Dick, this was an opportunity to begin a more maritime focused consultancy agency and thus Plimsoll was born. Plimsoll has a long history in the maritime and logistics industry, providing expertise in Executive Search and Interim Management, M&A, Strategy and HRM consultancy. Dick’s next step in his career is as a member of the advisory board of Venturn.

Olivier Binkhorst began his career at Plimsoll in 1997 simultaneously with his studies in logistics and transportation. After working for five years as a consultant at Plimsoll and 2.5 years as account coordinator at Samskip, he decided that he wanted to see more of the world. He completed a traineeship at Stanton Chase in Hong Kong and eventually got a job in Shanghai. He stayed in China to set up an office for Plimsoll in 2008.

Olivier with his first employee at Plimsoll's Shanghai office

Olivier with his first employee at Plimsoll’s Shanghai office

In China, Olivier learned how hard life can be in countries outside of Europe. What fascinated him the most was the “positivism” around him, even though the economic crisis had taken a big turn. China was still up and coming and other than the new skyscrapers that popped up around him every day, he noticed growth in every aspect of his environment. When he returned to the Netherlands, he took this positivism with him.

Olivier has now taken a job at Venturn as Senior Consultant, becoming part of the Executive Search team. Olivier is fascinated by the extent to which automation, robotisation and Artifical Intelligence influence our clients’ business processes.   “I find it interesting to see how far you can already carry out your activities as a recruiter via LinkedIn, for example. My father used to write contact details of clients on a Rolodex at the start of Plimsoll in the eighties.” On Venturn’s range of services, he adds: “What I like is that Venturn can get into contact with clients via different channels because Venturn has different products to offer. You can provide clients with young professionals, training, strategy consulting or with executive search.”

With Olivier’s addition to the team and Dick’s contribution as a member of Venturn’s advisory board, we create an even more robust and specialised consultancy. By securing Venturn’s Executive Search with this takeover, we create room for growth to develop our other services. We look forward to growing our business consultancy, interim and secondment services, training and development programmes and Young Professionals Programme to offer an even better and broader portfolio of services in the future.

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