Meet the MD: Ian McPherson

It's not every day that we see successful MDs who started their career in the Merchant Navy; MSIS leader Ian McPherson fulfilled his boyhood dream of doing just that and now finds himself leading a successful business. He tells BQ more.
  • Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

As managing director of MSIS Group, it’s my responsibility to manage the company’s resources to ensure we successfully meet our business objectives and report back to the board.

My number one priority is to ensure that we continue to comply with all health, safety and environmental regulations and mitigate any potential hazards, as the company operates in environments which pose high risks. I also ensure that we do this in a cost efficient manner to deliver value to our clients.

Another key part of my role is to ensure that the management team have the resources, processes and support to deliver this is on a daily basis.


  • What is it the company does?

MSIS provides specialised environmental services, more specifically, tank cleaning with confined space entry and managing toxic waste. Our core markets are offshore and onshore which are supported by our bases in Aberdeen and Invergordon.


  • What do you believe makes a great leader?

Someone who is able to make decisions in a calm and rational manner. Understands their own weakness’s and are able to build teams around that.


  • What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Given the current challenges and uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, its ensuring we keep our levels of investment up and provide innovative solutions to sustain our growth and value to our clients.


  • How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Walking along the beach at Hopeman with my family and playing golf with my friends.


  • When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to join the Merchant Navy.


  • Any pet hates in the workplace?

No phones ringing.


  • Where do you see the company in five years time?

With the new investment that has been injected by Primary Capital I would like to see the company grow by introducing innovative cost saving solutions to our clients in the UK and expanding our presence in the international oil and gas markets, thereby strengthening our position as a specialist in our field.


  • What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Make a plan and stick to it. As Butch Harmon said ‘If you aim at nothing you will sure as hell hit it!’


  • Where did you start your career?

I fulfilled my boyhood dream of going to sea and joining the Merchant Navy.


  • Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

After spending five years in the Merchant Navy, I started working offshore in the North Sea in the late seventies. After gaining considerable experience in the field I came ashore in the late 80’s. Since then I have been involved in a number of successful companies that I helped to build. I also spent nine years with Schlumberger Oilfield Services.