Excellence in Energy
During Chip Register’s three years as the head of Sapient Global Markets, its revenue has grown by 250 percent and now accounts for one-third of Sapient Corporation’s total revenue. In that time, the Global Markets business has increased headcount from just over 1,000 to approximately 2,600 employees today.
Not bad for a guy who has only been a consultant for three years. Register began his career trading commodities, helping to develop the trading business for Weyerhaeuser and CIBC World Markets. He then managed Essent Energy Trading, the merchant subsidiary of the largest Dutch utility. He then built and managed several merchant trading businesses for Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, one of the largest privately-held commodity traders in the world. In both of those positions, he honed his knowledge of the energy trading markets, and, in the process, became a Sapient client.
Now, as a leader inside the firm, he is leaning heavily on his experience in industry. Running an energy company in the current deregulated environment requires balancing the risks and reward of building energy production capabilities verses buying that capacity from others.
“Clients realize they can only build a power plant so often. But they can go out and buy the capacity equivalent to a new plant in 20 minutes. You can do things on a trading floor that can change the dynamics of an energy company very quickly.” Managing that process successfully requires the kind of expertise that Register’s unique background provides.
Making the switch from client to consultant has required a change in mindset. “There’s a big difference when moving from principal to advisor,” he says.
“I’m no longer the decision maker. Instead, I get to focus on the content of the new strategy and not have to worry as much about running a business while trying to implement the strategy.”
The typical consultant travel schedule is nothing new for Register. “Consulting is a hard road, but I was away from home a lot when I was running trading companies. At my last job, I, personally, had offices in four cities and was constantly bouncing between them.”