IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 76



International SOS | From East to West
Europe
Expanding our business into Europe brought further
challenges. The concept of assistance had begun in
Europe and all the key assistance companies still
had a very strong presence there. In contrast, by the
late 1990s, we still had very little presence in Europe.
The acquisition of International SOS Assistance
brought with it offices in Geneva and London and
better visibility for us in Europe. This was followed
by a number of other acquisitions and key events:
2009: The acquisition of Abermed. Based in
Aberdeen, Abermed provides occupational health
and medical services to the global oil and gas
industry. The acquisition helped strengthen our
geographic presence in oil and gas and accelerated
the globalisation of Abermed’s specialised products,
including UK-trained rig medics and occupational
health services.
2013: We acquired three further companies to form
the International SOS business in West Norway; this
significantly strengthened our occupational health
and medical staffing services in this area.
In recent years our involvement with the emerging
concept of Duty of Care has also formed an
important part of our client offering in Europe.
Opening of our new headquarters and
Assistance Centre, London, 29 March
2012: London Mayor Boris Johnson
with Dr Pascal Rey-Herme and
Arnaud Vaissié.
68
Another challenge was trying to cover all the large
disparate markets. Europe is made up of a number
of countries, with many different languages and
cultures. Our task was to be ‘local’ for the Germans,
French, Dutch and all the rest, keeping true to our
practice of staying close to our customers and
always speaking their language.
We achieved this by setting up Assistance Centres
in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Prague and
Geneva, as well as offices in key centres such as
Milan, Brussels, Amsterdam, Stockholm and
Copenhagen. This was a key investment for the
group but it paid off. International SOS is now a
success in all key European markets; we are the
market leader in providing international medical and
travel security solutions to European multinationals.
Our HQ in London
In 2001 our Hammersmith offices became our
second global headquarters, alongside Singapore.
Creating a second HQ in Arnaud’s words was, “A
logical step, better reflecting the realities of global
businesses today.” London was selected due to its
position in the world’s time zones, because it is a
major aviation hub and because English is the
prevalent language in the world of business.
In 2012 the London HQ moved to brand new offices
in Chiswick Park. This eco-friendly setting provided
an open plan environment and excellent IT and
communications platforms.
The Corporate Sales and Marketing function moved
to London, enabling it, in Philippe Arnaud’s words,
“to be more balanced and closer to our clients
whose headquarters were in the Americas, Europe,
Middle East & Africa, whilst our HQ in Singapore
remained closer to our customers in Asia.” The
London team has since grown considerably.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, officially
opened the new HQ in March. He described the
company as having a “World-class reputation for
offering an unmatched service to its clients.”
The expansion of our business into South America
Londonmuch
Mayor
Boris
addressing
SOS
began
later
in Johnson
our history,
but with International
the
clients,
employees
and
key
stakeholders
at
the
new
London
development by the multinational extractive industry
office opening, Chiswick Business Park, 29 March 2012.
of
major mines, and oil and gas production it was a
French Ambassador to Great Britain M. Bernard Emié,
natural progression.
standing at left next to Arnaud Vaissié.

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