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CRO Wisdom Episode 18: James Gellert, CEO, Rapid Ratings – Part 1

Atul Vashistha:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of CRO Wisdom. I’m delighted today to have an industry leader and friend, James Gellert, the Chairman and CEO of Rapid Ratings with me today. Welcome James.

James Gellert:

Thanks Atul, it’s great to be with you.

Atul Vashistha:

So James, first let’s start with, how did you end up in risk management? Where did your journey begin that you are in risk management at this time?

James Gellert:

I like to pretend like there’s a straight line, but it’s been pretty circuitous. I actually came out of school and went right into banking and my Asian studies major, no MBA, Japanese minor at the time seemed like a logical thing to bring into banking. And I had a wonderful career there, really enjoyed what I did.

James Gellert:

I basically brought corporations, foreign sovereign entities and banks into the US market to raise capital. The big part of that was helping them navigate the rating agencies, understanding how to position themselves, presenting their strengths and weaknesses appropriately to the marketplace structuring deals and then raising capital for them.

James Gellert:

And I did that for 10 years, loved it, but then decided the siren song of technology was too great and I left to get into the tech world. And then over a period of close to 10 years, I focused on information services and digital products in technology, ultimately starting a small investment banking firm that was helping companies like the ones that I had run to raise capital and do M&A, and things like that.

We have a wonderful team as do you too. It’s one of the reasons we really enjoy working with you. But we’ve got a great team, a great culture. And to me, a lot of that has come from our choosing a client-centric philosophy from day one and keeping our eyes always on how are we helping clients?

James Gellert:

And that’s when my business partner, Doug Cameron and I found Rapid Ratings. It was a company that was small and young, but we had the opportunity to buy it and position it in risk management today. And we’ve kind of taken that in a lot to different directions, but particularly in the kind of risk that we help people manage today, supply chain risk, third party risk, credit risk, things like that.

Atul Vashistha:

Wonderful. So James, tell us a little bit more about your role as CEO, kind of what are some of the areas that you focus on?

James Gellert:

So as you also know well, being a CEO sort of puts you in a position where you show up to work every day expecting to do 10 things, you get about three of them done, and you do another seven, three of which you have never done before and have to figure out along the way.

James Gellert:

It’s always a bit of a daily scramble, but sort of directing the strategy of a business in the risk space is to me incredibly exciting and rewarding, particularly because the kinds of things that we focus on, particularly in supply chain and third party risk are so incredibly important and strategically relevant over the last 10 years, but even just the last 18 to 24 months.

James Gellert:

And so, setting vision, guiding strategy, trying not to mess up what my senior management team is doing and knowing that they’re doing a good job and helping them get there, those are all the things that I have to think about.

Atul Vashistha:

James, I know many of your team members. Kudos to you for putting together such an amazing team.

James Gellert:

I appreciate that. We have a wonderful team as do you too. It’s one of the reasons we really enjoy working with you. But we’ve got a great team, a great culture.

James Gellert:

And to me, a lot of that has come from our choosing a client-centric philosophy from day one and keeping our eyes always on how are we helping clients? How are we helping them achieve their goals, determine what problems they’ve got and how we can attach the value of what we do to those problems.

James Gellert:

And frankly not selling what we do to people for whom we’d be a bad fit, because ultimately that doesn’t serve anyone either, but the team really has embraced all of that and I think kind of forwards that message along every day.

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Speakers

James Gellert


Chairman & CEO

Rapid Ratings

James H. Gellert is the Chairman and CEO of RapidRatings International. Previously, he was the Managing Partner of Howland Partners, LLC and Howland Securities LLC—firms that provided consulting, business development, capital raising, and M&A advisory to companies in the financial information and technology markets. Prior to those positions, he served as CEO of a number of technology companies including wireless software and research companies SkyScout and Unstrung.

Atul Vashistha


Chairman & CEO

Supply Wisdom

Atul Vashistha is recognized globally as a leading expert on globalization, governance, and risk. He has authored three best-selling books: The Offshore Nation, Globalization Wisdom and Outsourcing Wisdom. Atul pioneered the global sourcing advisory space in 1999 when he founded Neo Group and is also the founder and Chairman of Supply Wisdom. Founded in 2012 as an early warning service for business disruption risk, today, Supply Wisdom® is the market leading patented real-time and continuous risk intelligence and monitoring solution. Atul serves on the boards of the US Department of Defense Business Board (Vice Chair), IAOP, Shared Assessments, and Zemoga.

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