Article by Chris Clifford
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AT GLOBAL SHIPPING AND LOGISTICS COMPANY, PETERS & MAY
Based along England’s south coast, Simon Judson celebrates a double milestone in 2023: 20 years within the shipping and logistics industry, and 50 years since Peters & May was founded
How it all began
Although becoming a CEO was never the plan, Simon’s early working years will undoubtedly have played a pivotal role in influencing his career path, and contributed to his achievements to date. In his early twenties, Judson first demonstrated traits of an entrepreneurial mindset when he started his first business whilst travelling Australia with friends of equal mindsets. The ‘little business’ (as he describes it), officially named Music Live, saw the entrepreneurs using their camcorders to film launch parties, promotional videos and even interviewing DJs, and publishing these on the internet. Music Live took off during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Music Live was soon sponsored by the likes of PlayStation and Smirnoff. Upon relocating to the UK three years later, Judson went into business with a friend starting Complete Freight. Originally a “man- in-a-van removals company”, this business would pave its way to Peters & May. Following numerous yacht racing container shipping enquiries, the business grew to be a strong competitor of Peters & May, which lead to the acquisition of Complete Freight, and Judson becoming head of Technical Operations.
What the day looks like
“Shipping is 360 days a year,” says Simon. “It doesn’t stop for Christmas, and every holiday is a working holiday”. The dedicated CEO confesses he is always available for work, his phone always close to hand for urgent comms. “I’m used to it now, it’s just part of the territory,” says Judson. His typical day may not be considered particularly exciting between the team meetings, phone calls and the emails, however he does admit to enjoying almost every aspect of his role. He still very much likes to get involved in the operational side of the business wherever possible, especially as that is where his passion lies. Networking is a non-negotiable in the shipping industry. With a plethora of boat shows and events taking place every year, Peters & May understands the value in attending as many as reasonably possible. With many clients and agents located overseas, these shows and events provide the perfect excuse to visit their offices.
Keeping it personal
Whenever feasible, Judson likes to make the client and agent visits personally, having visited Spain, Italy and Dubai last year, with plans to travel to visit France, Holland and potentially America this year. Since making the move to CEO in November 2020, Judson has worked closely with his board of directors to restore resilience within the business, despite a demanding and challenging market. “Peters & May has overcome numerous market pressures resulting from the pandemic and the Russian-Ukrainian war, some of which are still ongoing. The directors and I have spent a lot of time with our team, improving communication and transparency among each division to ensure smooth operation,” said Judson. Despite admitting to little free time, Judson has managed to master the art of his own work life balance through efficient time management and intentional actions, together with the benefit of some days working at home like us all.
Work hard play harder
Known professionally for his passion, hard work, and dedication to the business, he has also earned himself the reputation of a ‘thrill-seeker’ through his extracurricular activities. As a keen kiteboarder, Judson is right at home with a kite board, and a good bit of wind. In fact, he’s planning a family holiday to Norway this spring where he and his family can ski, and Judson can snow kite – kiteboarding with a twist! “I appreciate over-working can come at a cost mentally, and so I find it really important to partake in activities that demand my full attention,” said Judson.
Judson also has plans to cross the English Channel via kite board heading towards the French coast, all in support of the Peters & May Foundation. The crossing is expected to take around four hours and he will be completing it with a good friend, and fellow kiteboarder, by his side. Judson is also an avid squash player, playing for a local squash team. Whether he is on the squash court or in the boardroom, Judson always has his eye on the ball.