Women in shipping - Randee Day, head of Goldin Maritime, founder of Day & Partners

Randee Day. Credit: Chris Preovolos/Marine Money

During a press conference in Bagdad in December 2008, an Iraqi journalist famously threw his shoes at the head of then-United States President George W Bush. Shipping finance veteran Randee Day can sympathise with the former American leader. The same thing happened to her.

“When I was starting out as a banker at JP Morgan in London, I had a closing with a Greek shipowner who didn’t like that I was sticking to the required terms. He was trying to renegotiate them at the closing, but I had my marching orders from my boss, so I stuck to them – and then he threw his shoe at me!” she recalled to Fairplay, adding, “I ducked.”

When asked whether the owner would have thrown a shoe at her if she was a man, she immediately responded, “No.” Then, after a moment of reflection, she said, “Well, probably not. He was very temperamental.”

The moral of the story did not emerge until several years later. The same Greek owner had loans with US bank Continental Illinois, which ran into series financial trouble in the late 1980s, shortly after Day left JP Morgan. “I set up own my consulting firm, and the first call he made [about his Continental loans] was to me. I represented him in the restructuring of his loans with Continental and I become one of his best, most loyal advisers,” she said.

As a woman in a male-dominated banking and shipping industry, Day has succeeded through her merit. “It’s a rough-and-tumble macho industry, but what really matters is trust. I don’t think [gender] has been much of an issue,” she said.

“I was fortunate enough to be promoted at a fairly young age at JP Morgan, where I ran the global shipping business. I feel I established my reputation and had a great deal of credibility with many shipowners all over the world. And I have found that shipping clients are very loyal. I don’t have any complaints. I’ve made great friends in this business over many years.”

Her career path has featured a mixture of banking, advisory services, and board and interim executive stints. In the banking field, she was an associate of the Export Import Bank of America in 1970–72, assistant vice-president at Bank of America in 1972–74, vice-president of marine transportation at JP Morgan in 1976–80, and head of marine transportation at JP Morgan in 1980-85.

She launched her restructuring advisory service, Day and Partners, in 1985, and has helmed a shipping ‘platform’ venture, Goldin Maritime, since 2017. “With Goldin Maritime, we are providing operational and advisory support to banks and investors that have taken control of tonnage either on a consensual or foreclosure basis.

“Goldin Maritime provides a small group of executives to handle the oversight of all the technical and commercial management of the vessels, and to provide strategic advice on trading and sales considerations, as well as any other support that is necessary. What we’re offering is similar to what you might do in a trustee situation. It’s like a ‘rent a board’. We’re an independent third party with a simple per-ship, per-day fee structure and we have no interests in any of the pools or commercial or technical managers we would recommend.”

Providing an update on the Goldin Maritime platform to Fairplay in March, Day said, “It’s going extremely well. The first deal was for investors who bought two Supramaxes, and we oversaw the entire process and we are functioning as management, monitoring that investment on behalf of the sponsors. We’ve also been managing three product tankers in the portfolios of hedge funds that took over distressed tonnage and were unhappy with the [previous] commercial and technical managers. We’re also in the process of working with another investor who is looking at a distressed portfolio of eight German feeder ships. So we have been quite busy and we’re getting good traction. Investors appreciate the transparency and the impartiality of the platform.”