Venture Risk Management has a strong management team that is experienced in international operations; has a deep working knowledge of Africa and a clear understanding of international corporate security standards.

Our people are carefully selected for every project and are drawn from military, diplomatic and corporate security backgrounds; bringing with them a flexible and ‘can-do’ attitude.

The team has extensive experience in security management, risk assessments, security training, and logistics in hostile environments all over the globe and has handled security requirements for a variety of clients including governments, international oil and gas companies, mining firms and other listed companies, sugar estates, ports, cement factories, telecoms companies and NGOs.

Noel Philp
Noel Philp joined VRM as its Chairman following a 23 year career in the private security industry. He has extensive security management and consulting experience primarily across Asia/Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. In 1989 he joined ArmorGroup International and managed their interests in these regions. Services included security management, guard forces, training and de-mining in areas of diminished law and order and civil war. He became Managing Director of ArmorGroup Services Ltd in 1998.

In 2002 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer for ArmorGroup’s services worldwide which included protective security services to Governments and multi-national companies in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was one of the Directors responsible for listing ArmorGroup on the London Stock Exchange in 2004. His experience includes creating domestic security companies, operating to international standards, in East and West Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. More recently he has taken a Directors role in a company specialising in 21st Century technology to increase the surveillance capability surrounding critical infrastructure in high risk areas through unmanned aviation vehicles, aerostat balloons and ground sensors.

Max Francis-Jones
Founder & Non-Executive Director

Max Francis-Jones has led the growth of Venture Risk Management from start up in 2009 to a vibrant company with a strong client base.  With nearly 20 years worth of experience working in eastern Africa, often in very remote locations, he has consistently demonstrated the ability to lead high performing teams to deliver excellent results.

A former British army officer with the Light Dragoons, Max spent several years in Uganda as a project leader for Raleigh International before moving on to establish the Uganda office of a regional security company.  Then he ran security on one of East Africa’s largest sugar estates before joining ArmorGroup – a British global security company in 2004 as Tanzania country manager. With ArmorGroup he managed several hundred employees on various large, remote project sites for multinational oil & gas and mining clients and diplomatic missions, and also led work in Djibouti, Mozambique and Burundi.

His experience has included producing corporate security plans and procedures, risk assessments, security audits and crisis response plans along with due diligence and investigation tasks throughout the region for a wide range of clients.

Max is a long-standing member of the British Business Group, which represents British commercial interests to Tanzanian policy makers.

Peter Sharwood-Smith
Managing Director

Peter served in the British Army as an Infantry Officer deploying to the UK, Northern Ireland and Bosnia before moving into commercial risk management. He has worked in Africa since Jan 2005 including roles as a Geomarket Security Consultant for Schlumberger, Africa Consultant for Accenture, as a Deputy Regional Manager for ArmorGroup and as Regional Manager for Drum Cussac before joining VRM in September 2014. Currently based in Dar es Salaam, Peter is responsible for VRM’s operations within the region.

Nick Copcutt
Director of Business Development

Nick Copcutt has been in the military, security and O&G sectors for 23 years. He has a highly valuable combination of experience having been both a head of security for a major O&G company and an asset manager responsible for all aspects of a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) project in Africa. This combination provides him with a rare insight into the business requirements, Health Safety Security and Environment (HSSE) and logistical issues surrounding O&G in Africa.

Having served in the Parachute Regiment and Britain’s Special Forces, Nick worked as a security manager for the multinational British American Tobacco before being appointed Group Head of Security for BG Group. In this role Nick was responsible for overseeing the company’s entry into East Africa and ensuring that adequate security precautions were in place. Nick furthered his experience in the O&G sector joining Ophir Energy in 2012, and has been closely involved with a number of their business lines in Africa, most recently with the planning of an LNG plant in West Africa. Nick joined VRM in May 2014 and brings to the company considerable value through his O&G and security knowledge.

David Collett

David Collett completed a 26 year career in the British Army holding a wide range of appointments from a pilot in the Army Air Corps to second in command of 22 SAS.  He served with the Parachute Regiment in the Falklands Campaign and was awarded the Military Cross.  After leaving the British Army in 1990 he joined the Sultanate of Oman Special Forces and was responsible for the raising and management of a Special Forces Regiment with a capital budget of £48m.  For his performance in this appointment he was awarded the Sultan’s Distinguished Service Medal.  In 1997 he left Oman and joined ArmorGroup (originally Defence Systems Limited (DSL)) and in 2001 became Director of Operations in London responsible for the coordination of global operations. He established the Group offices in Nigeria, Iraq and Afghanistan.  He has extensive risk management experience with a focus on risk assessments, training, and logistics.  He left ArmorGroup in 2008 and has since been working as an independent security consultant.

Ansila Olutu
Operations Manager

Ansila joined VRM in 2011 as a Control Room Supervisor for a BG project before being promoted to Transport Coordinator and later Operations Manager at VRM Mtwara. As an Operations Manager she manages the workforce of guards and drivers, maintaining the discipline and performance of the staff. Ansila also holds an International Defensive Driving Instructor Diploma from RoSPA, allowing her to carry out annual and initial driver training courses to insure all VRM drivers are properly trained to international standards. Before joining Venture Risk Management Ansila already had 8 years experience in the security industry having worked as a guard, then a Supervisor, a Control Room Operator and finally Head of Control Room with a variety of clients including The Kempinski Hotel, PPF Tower and the US Embassy.

Thomas Chacha
Training Manager

Thomas joined VRM in 2014, after having been with KK security company for over 8 years as a Training and Marketing Executive. He also provided managerial duties in field sites such as TPC sugar company and North Mara Gold mine. Since joining VRM Thomas has worked as Deputy Operations Manager for 2 years before becoming the principle Training Manager. Thomas holds an International Defensive Driving Instructor Diploma from RoSPA, and has also attended training on weapons use, maintenance and safety – delivered by the Field Force Police unit. As Training Manager, Thomas ensures all VRM staff are correctly trained on recruitment, and continue to receive annual and/or remedial training to keep them certified in line with international Standards.

Michael Clyne
Information Services Manager

Michael Clyne is a certified Risk Manager (PMI-RMP) and international security professional who specialises in Africa. A recognized expert, he has been published and featured across broadcast, print, and online media; presented at international forums; delivered expert evidence; and is a member of the Africa Expert Network. Formerly Assistant Director at Drum Cussac, Michael developed and managed Africa regional and metrics portfolios for the business risk consultancy before joining VRM in 2015. He holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and Bachelor’s from Vassar College in the U.S.