Our Story

Our Story

Our Story

Following a varied and interesting career, Gordon Cairns set up Cairns Walker in 2012. Gordon tells the Cairns Walker story below.

“As my career has progressed, I have come to learn that the early influences in your life have a huge impact on your character, your drivers, and your values. I was brought up in a family with roots in Coalmining and the Co-operative Movement. That background drives a hard work ethic, a genuine caring for people, and a strong belief in justice, especially social justice.”

My training in law and accountancy provided me with the business skills and knowledge to move into general management by the time I was 35- leading the £100m automotive retailer, Laidlaw Group plc, and its 700 employees.

Following Laidlaw’s takeover, I returned to finance as Head of Corporate Development and CFO at Cairn Energy PLC. Cairn was a dynamic and exciting company. When I joined, its market capitalisation was £60m. Within two years, following our discovery of gas offshore Bangladesh, its stock market value was £1bn. We followed through with the acquisition of Sydney-based Command Petroleum. Two years later, I returned to Sydney to close the office, where I had to make sixty staff redundant.


Staff at Command Petroleum, 1999

That was a turning point in my career.

Despite their difficult circumstances, the warmth and appreciation shown to me by Command’s staff made me realise that I should work with people, not with figures. I left Cairn in 1999. Command was Cairn’s route into India. Ultimately, that drove Cairn to a stock market value of £6bn and entry into the FTSE 100.

Since leaving Cairn, I have worked as a headhunter, a mentor, and a business advisor to SMEs. As a headhunter, I have made sure that the right people, those who deserve it, are appointed to senior positions. Unless you have the best people at the top of an organisation, everyone suffers. As a mentor, I have gained fulfilment by helping people develop themselves and gain more self confidence.  And, as a Business Advisor to small companies, I hope that I have contributed to their success and the wellbeing of their staff.

During my career, I have met some exceptional leaders. They have, not just ability and drive, but a real desire to contribute to the lives and careers of others. Some of them are my associates in Cairns Walker.