Phil Frimpong Prioritizes Positivity and Facts to Lead His Team

Meet Phil Frimpong, Head of Global Infrastructure, Europe, and learn what’s shaped his experience at BBH.

Meet Phil Frimpong, Head of Global Infrastructure, Europe, and learn how trust-based leadership, controlling what’s controllable and his involvement with BBH Affinity Network Communities (BANC) shapes his experience at BBH

Tell us about your career to date.

I joined BBH in 2020, as Head of Global Infrastructure, Europe. One of the reasons I chose BBH is that I really enjoyed talking with every person I met during the interview process. Each discussion reinforced that BBH was a thoughtful business, focused on being well-positioned for the future to deliver for their clients and open to change. I knew I could help with that, so I joined the team―and it’s been an excellent decision. I think BBH is a great place to work, with great people.

In addition to my global infrastructure role, I am also the designated IT Officer for BBH Luxembourg and serve as Chief Information Officer (CIO) for BBH’s two Dublin entities, which includes accountability to the Irish regulator for IT risk, cyber security, and IT compliance obligations. There’s lots of reporting involved in my role, both with regulators and internally, which I find really interesting and enjoy.

Mindset is a choice. I choose to be positive because it helps me see opportunity in every situation.

How would you describe yourself as a leader?

By nature, I have a very positive mindset and I always see the good in everyone. As a people person, I enjoy working with a team and get great satisfaction seeing others grow and learn. I’m a big believer that there is never an end to learning and remaining curious is important.

High-performing teams, collaboration and open communication are very important to me. No topic is off-limits at our leadership team sessions. I run them under Chatham house rule―that means anything is on the table for discussion, but confidential discussions stay with the leadership team. It takes trust among the team and genuine mutual respect to be able to do this well and keep it confidential afterward, no matter how much you’ve disagreed. I think we have built that trust. The only other rule I’m steadfast on is that once we have a decision, everyone leaves on the same page. You can disagree and debate as much as necessary in our sessions, but once a decision is made, we’re all equally committed to it.

I’d describe myself as a bit of a perfectionist and very much a fact-based manager. Metrics and data are important. Of course, you can have a gut feeling about something, but I will always want to see supporting data before making decisions. My role is to decide the actions that will best deliver on our strategic and business objectives. While I have detailed knowledge of the technology, I rely on my colleagues, who really are the specialists and subject matter experts in their fields, to work with their teams to drive and evolve those ideas. Working in a systems organization that values and promotes good leadership has helped me build a high-performing team.

Tell us about your involvement with the BBH Affinity Network Communities (BANC) in Luxembourg

I joined a panel discussion on Black Lives Matter one month after joining BBH and I haven’t stopped getting involved and learning since then. Where I can add value, I do. I’ve found people at BBH are very accepting and everyone is welcome and treated with respect, which is great.

My most recent effort was helping to organize an event with guest speaker Zelda la Grange, who was Nelson Mandela’s personal secretary for 20 years. She was great and so direct in the language she chose and how she spoke about racism, discrimination, and inequality. Zelda admitted that she was a racist before working for Mandela, because that’s what she was taught growing up as a white Afrikaans child in South Africa. Not surprisingly, she’s completely changed and is now a global advocate and spokesperson for equity and inclusion for all minority groups, not just in South Africa. In Zelda’s words, “Every day the universe is teaching us to be kinder, more considerate and more caring, but it also shows us how perfect and damaged we can all be.”

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