Outsmarting Adversity

How chief human resources, legal, and compliance officer Bill Fisher and the Crosby team strengthened the company’s industry position during hard economic times.

In 2014, the year Bill Fisher joined the Crosby Group (Crosby) as chief legal and compliance officer, the company saw the most profitable year in its history. It had recently been acquired by the private-equity company KKR, which saw that Crosby had tremendous growth potential. In addition to being a global leader in the lifting and rigging industry, its market was stable and fruitful.

Bill Fisher The Crosby Group
Bill Fisher, The Crosby Group Photo Courtesy of The Crosby Group

Then the market changed. By the end of 2014 and into 2015, oil and gas suppliers had experienced a substantial drop in demand for their product. As prices in the industry continued to wane, companies throughout the world felt the impact and were forced to respond to the downturn in the market. Although Crosby serves a highly diverse industry base, the downturn in oil and gas presented unique challenges to the company that Fisher and his colleagues were prepared to address.

“We went from the highest of highs to having to assess and change our strategic direction,” he recalls. “We had to make some really tough decisions to make sure that we would thrive as a company once the markets recovered.”

During this time of market challenges, the company hired a new CEO, who promoted Fisher to chief human resources officer in addition to his legal and compliance responsibilities. Together, Fisher, the senior management team, and all team members changed the culture of the company from an “action-based” culture to a “results-based” one.

According to Fisher, changing the culture required team members to shift how they viewed success in their own personal positions. Instead of performing legacy tasks that may have been around for years, each employee was challenged to focus on what actually generated results for Crosby’s bottom line. “It was extremely rewarding to see the transformation of how our team members viewed their positions and how they could directly effect change in the organization,” Fisher says.

“Sometimes, my most important role is to act as a sounding board on how we go about executing on our strategy. I make sure that I have an open door, so I am always receptive to anyone with questions and willing to guide them in the right direction, even if their questions aren’t about legal matters.”

The company began focusing more on data metrics to track successes and, more importantly, opportunities for improvement. “Taking a more strategic approach to how we made business decisions and how we collaborated with each other as a team got us through the economic downturn, and as a result, we are well positioned as a company going forward,” Fisher says. “This could not have been done without a highly skilled, dedicated, and motivated group of professionals. It was truly a team effort.”

When Fisher joined Crosby, he was the first in-house attorney in the company’s history. As a result, it was important to him to learn about the business and the challenges it faced. According to Fisher, “As Crosby’s first in-house attorney, I was concerned that I would be viewed as a barrier to the company’s long-standing success. I wanted our team members to see me as a trusted business partner who just happened to have a legal background. I do not generate revenue for our business; it is my responsibility to ensure that our commercial and operations teams are making the best decisions for the overall success of the company. Sometimes, my most important role is to act as a sounding board on how we go about executing on our strategy. I make sure that I have an open door, so I am always receptive to anyone with questions and willing to guide them in the right direction, even if their questions aren’t about legal matters.”

Having led a larger legal department at his previous company, Fisher says that this time of his career has been the most professionally challenging and personally rewarding. He is part of a talented team whose members showcase their commitment to Crosby’s cause on a daily basis. Today, the company’s sights are solely focused on the future and the opportunities it brings.

“It’s time to celebrate the hard work and perseverance that we’ve maintained throughout the years,” he says. “We’ve always been focused on providing quality products and doing what is best for our customers—this will always be how we guide our business decisions. Our talented team members will continue to make that their highest priority.”

As the dedicated team members of Crosby work together, they’re reminded that with the diligence and tenacity ingrained in all of them, anything is possible.


We congratulate our friend Bill Fisher at Crosby for his achievements and well-deserved recognition.  As one of the largest U.S.-based firms, Haynes and Boone LLP has achieved significant growth because of our ability to collaborate with clients to solve problems, and we thank Bill for giving us that opportunity with Crosby. www.haynesboone.com