“A star performer on my team got an amazing offer from Goldman Sachs. But we convinced her to stay”

Livia Paggi, head of political risk at GPW, on managing during Covid, retaining talent and what it meant being one of MT's 35 Women Under 35 2020.

by Stephen Jones

The title of global political risk consultant tends to conjure a certain image, says Livia Paggi, head of political risk at GPW [pictured right]. One of briefings in smoke-filled rooms from former soldiers and intelligence officers. Cutting through that image, in what has also traditionally been seen as a men’s industry, has been a challenge since she joined the business in 2013 as a junior analyst. 

In summer 2015 it got a touch harder. A restructuring of the organisation led to many of the company’s partners leaving. Neither Paggi nor her colleague Ashley Messick, GPW's head of dispute management, [pictured left] then a case manager, had ever faced anything like this before. 

It left the pair facing a “make or break moment in their careers” - to join those jumping ship, or to try and rebuild their respective divisions at a firm that some in the industry press described as a “sinking ship”. They opted for the latter, laying out a business plan to regrow their respective divisions. Five years later it was a risk that looks to have paid off both as both are now equity partners.

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