Stuart Gibson - new Rangers investor interviewed - Part 2

IbroxForever

Well-Known Member
It has been very interesting to hear from him, he comes across very well. I think we will another investor from Asia at the next share issue, I think he or she will be linked to Stuart Gibson.
 
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Valley Bluenose

Well-Known Member
For those that prefer text:

STUART GIBSON left Paisley with a dream and determination not knowing when, or if, he would be back again. Three decades on, Scotland isn’t home these days.

Rangers provide an emotional and financial investment for the businessman here, but the ambition of forging a career and making a life for himself in the Far East has been realised.

Some of Gibson’s earliest memories are of visiting his grandmother in Broomloan Road and of attending Ibrox with his father and friends to see his heroes in action. Now he is a key player himself, albeit in a different sense, after a £5million investment in his boyhood club.

He recalls ‘pestering’ the stewardess to try and find out the score in the League Cup final as Rangers beat Aberdeen at Hampden. On that same day, an adventure and new life started for the man that is now co-founder and co-CEO of logistics platform ESR in Asia.

“I was in Paisley until 1987 and then I moved to Australia,” Gibson told Herald and Times Sport. “I always had a fascination with the Far East but I didn’t know where to go. It could have been China, it could have been Japan, it could have been Hong Kong.

“The easiest place to start from was Australia so I landed in Perth in 1987 and hooked up with a close mate from Paisley who landed two weeks before me.

“Back then, I was a young civil engineer and I intended to work in pubs and bars for a year but I ended up getting a job on a building site right away, so I never got to do the adventure of working in pubs. I ended up working in Broome for Sir Alfred McAlpine, who was doing a big luxury resort called the Cable Beach.

“You used to get a one-year visa if you were under 26 so I spent the full year working in what was quite literally the Australian desert and then I got an extension to the visa. I thought ‘I don’t want to spend another year in the desert’, so I saved up a wee bit of money and moved to Sydney.

“Things just fell into place. I got a flat share in Sydney, found a job right away with a British construction company. Then the adventure really began.”

It was in Sydney that Gibson was interviewed by a fellow Scot for a position with a Japanese firm that was overseeing a highway project in Bangkok. His love of Rangers and one answer – ‘I said I was a Bluenose’, he says – did his chances no harm at all.

His business acumen and drive has taken Gibson to every corner of the globe but his time in war-torn Sri Lanka stands out as unique experience for many reasons.

“I bounced around from job to job doing the whole expat carousel and I was working in Sri Lanka during the worst of the Civil War,” Gibson said. “I was in Colombo all that time. I wondered why the money was as good and it was tax free and I had a nice car and a nice house, and I realised it was because there was a war going on and nobody else wanted the job.

“I did that for five years and it was pretty bad. I don’t think during that five years any foreigners were ever hurt at all, but it got quite hairy.

“There was a lot of suicide bombing, a lot of terrorism with buses being blown up and people walking into supermarkets or hotels and blowing themselves up and killing a lot of innocents.
“It was a tough place to live but, strangely enough, I have still got great memories of the place. After five years, it just started to really wear on you and it was getting really dangerous. It was getting closer and closer to Colombo and I just started looking around for jobs.”

When an American firm needed someone to oversee their operations in Asia, Gibson knew he was the right man for the role.

Tokyo was selected as his business base and a year in Amsterdam was the precursor to the move that has ultimately given him his breakthrough.

Those that he worked with became his biggest competitors - a situation he likens to ‘working for Coca Cola, finding out the secret syrup and then going and starting a company called Pepsi’ – as his influence and abilities rose simultaneously.

“I had no money but a lot of promise, a lot of opportunities and options, but I needed money,” Gibson said. “I did the Cola-Pepsi analogy, I went to their biggest competitor and said ‘you know what I have been doing in Japan, I am on my own now and this is what I can do if you back me’. And they backed me.

“I had a meeting in San Francisco with the guy that is still the chairman of that company, they put some money behind me and we did a 50-50 joint venture that went really well.

“It is buying big pieces of land, building warehouses and leasing them out to DHL, FedEx, UPS, all the household parcel companies.

“It went really well, to the point that it went too well, to the point in 2006 when they basically came back and said ‘you are our most profitable business, but there are 51 employees, you have got 50 and we have got one and he is an auditor’. They asked me, quite vigorously but politely, if I would sell my 50 per cent to them, which I did.

“We haggled over the price for a bit and then in July 2006 I sold them my 50 per cent and basically used that money to start the business that we have today.”

That firm, ESR, raised around £1.3billion from its Initial Public Offering in Hong Kong last year and it was during that process that the relationship that has taken Gibson to Ibrox was formed.

Rangers investor George Taylor oversaw the process for Morgan Stanley and Gibson is now has the fourth largest stake in RIFC plc following a £5million share purchase.

That investment is an emotional one rather than financially driven. Gibson is now very much living his dream.

“It is not really real estate, it is like infrastructure,” Gibson said of ESR. “It doesn’t matter if the economy is up or down, people would need them anyway.

“If the economy is doing great, people are buying expensive stuff, buying iPhones and laptops. If the economy isn’t doing well, they still need to buy shampoo and beer and bread and crisps. It is cyclical as you go through economic cycles, recession proof I suppose you would call it.

“Then more recently, with the whole explosion of E-Commerce, we were able to position ourselves to take advantage of that. Now we like to say we are the infrastructure for the digital economy, which is a fancy way of saying ‘we own the most warehouses in Asia’.

“That is what we do, so now the likes of Amazon, Alibaba, these guys, in most of Asia I am their biggest landlord. It is going really well, extremely well.

“We had our IPO in Hong Kong almost a year ago, the anniversary is coming up, and it got off great. The stock price is up 45 per cent in the last year so we are not doing too badly.”

STUART GIBSON joked he would have had no complaints had the Premiership campaign been halted at half-time of the Old Firm clash last weekend.

But the Ibrox investor is hopeful that this could be the defining season for Steven Gerrard’s side as Rangers look to end their long wait for silverware this term.

Gibson became a key financial player with the Light Blues earlier this month as a £5million share purchase saw him secure an 8.27 per cent stake in Rangers.

The Paisley-born businessman is now based in the Far East as the co-founder and co-CEO of logistics platform ESR but his heart remains very much in Glasgow as he keeps a close eye on the fortunes of his boyhood heroes.

Gibson watches on from across the world at all hours of the day and was a nervous spectator as Connor Goldson’s brace earned derby victory over Celtic at Parkhead.

Gibson told Herald and Times Sport: “As soon as Connor scored the first goal on Saturday, I jokingly sent a text message to George Taylor saying ‘I hope Nicola Sturgeon declares an emergency lockdown at half-time and declares the season over!’.

“That is how nervous I felt at half-time. But when we got that second goal, I thought this was a confident Rangers, they were in their stride.

“I am feeling pretty good. Keeping an eye with what is going on in Europe, because Europe is basically whether you are going to be in the red or the black to be quite honest.

“There is not much money winning the Premiership, not much money winning the League Cup or Scottish Cup. There is not much money there, it is really Europe.

“So if we can get results there in the next weeks, that is a cash windfall for the club and then Stevie can run over budget for new blood for the team.

“I saw what happened last year, we were on a roll right up until the winter break and then we came back and I don’t know what happened. I am going to temper my enthusiasm.”
 

Dulce et Decorum Est

Well-Known Member
Just the man we need having a small amount of influence at the Club. First and foremost a Supporter, then a well travelled man who has experienced various cultures and ways of living. Finally a man of sound business acumen. He will be brought up to speed on the football club finance game and by the sounds of it he is very much here for the long term. Great addition to the off field team.
 

Div1872

Well-Known Member
Cheers Mark

Stuart sounds a totally down to earth self made guy

Brilliant to read how well he’s done but never forgotten his roots or background

Sounds as if he has a good Protestant work ethic too

Fantastic position to be in and helping the club with his initial investment and I hope he can encourage more Far East investors who want to be part of this new regime and drive us back to where we belong and No 1 team in Scotland and winning our trophy back this season would be a great start
 

wee_bear

Well-Known Member
Hopefully he is in a position to invest in our success, you only get one life and I’m sure he’ll enjoy the ride! He will be realistic that there’s no real return on this investment other than the feelings he could get as being a major part of taking us back to the top!
 

Hurricane Run

Well-Known Member
I found it really interesting when I read his quotes about being able to bring more investment on board. Its crucial that we keep bringing investment into the club. Especially if the investors are vetted by good bears like Gibson or Letham. A very exciting chapter in our story just now, with progress on and off the pitch. I couldnt be happier with the direction of the club
 

dougieb

Active Member
I found it really interesting when I read his quotes about being able to bring more investment on board. Its crucial that we keep bringing investment into the club. Especially if the investors are vetted by good bears like Gibson or Letham. A very exciting chapter in our story just now, with progress on and off the pitch. I couldnt be happier with the direction of the club
I think this is the really important part many will gloss over!
 

RFC1976

Well-Known Member
Great read for a Sunday day morning , really like how he talks about the diversity of the board and helps to confirm what we have previously thought that we now have serious business men who have the best interests of the club as there priority in charge which is very reassuring
 

EssexBear

Well-Known Member
Board of good honest Protestant men of worth , who have the money and inclination of help our club , and have faith in the management team. The comparison to that lot over the City is not lost on me. Chalk and Cheese !

Can it only be a handful of years ago we had Spivs in charge ?
 

jweebear

Well-Known Member
Great work ethic these guys have, like him, King, Taylor. Went round the world working and making money, then come back to invest in Rangers, Dave King saving the club. Rangers are in their DNA thank god.
 
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