Bill Gallagher Reflects on 30 Years at IRI

19 October 2021

One of the things that you notice first about IRI President Bill Gallagher is his welcoming personality and personal touch. On any day you are just as likely to find Mr. Gallagher discussing marine safety with technical and operations teams as you are to find him with international legal and finance teams. His ability to connect with people on various sides of the industry is what makes him stand out as a leader.

When you ask Mr. Gallagher to reflect on his 30 years with IRI, it is no surprise that he immediately begins talking about people.

“The best thing I’ve done is hire good people,” he states. “Professional, experienced, knowledgeable, and team players; we are a family that is spread across the world.”

Under Mr. Gallagher’s leadership IRI has grown from six offices and approximately 100 employees based in Asia, Europe, and North America to 27 worldwide offices and more than 400 employees covering the world’s major financial and shipping centers.

“Hiring local talent for our regional offices, who have the expertise, know the local market and the key players, makes a big difference when it comes to client service,” said Mr. Gallagher. “Even before digitalization and globalization entered our vocabulary, IRI was creating a decentralized company with highly skilled, competent, and experienced people.”

Today, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry is not only home to the world’s youngest and greenest fleet but also to the world’s quality registry representing all sectors of the maritime industry from container ships, gas carriers, and tankers to super yachts and cruise vessels. In June 2021, the RMI became the only flag State in the world to achieve 17 consecutive years on the United States Coast Guard’s QUALSHIP 21 roster. The RMI is ranked in the top ten of the white lists of both the Paris and Tokyo Memorandums of Understanding as well. That the RMI flag is recognized worldwide as a leader in safe vessel operations and high-quality shipping is not by chance reports Mr. Gallagher.

“Over the last 30 years, the regulatory environment changed at warp speed and became incredibly complex. We didn’t just want to remain competitive, we wanted to offer our clients an advantage, so we added to the RMI’s permanent delegation at the IMO and increased the size and depth of our worldwide technical and operations teams,” noted Mr. Gallagher.

With the changing regulatory environment, Mr. Gallagher and IRI focused on building expertise from sectors outside the traditional maritime industry. In addition to hiring experts from classification society, marine engineering, and naval architecture companies, IRI hired team members with experience in industries such as banking, cyber security, legal, and communications, looking for what Mr. Gallagher calls “the best and the brightest.” That focus on hiring the right person, not necessarily the traditional person, has allowed IRI to lead the industry in adapting to change.

“Our team can roll with changes; they know the industry, they know the challenges, and they know what needs to get done. Each office can function autonomously to get things done for a client, while being fully supported and backed up by every other IRI office in real-time.”