Around RIG

Transocean’s People-First Culture: In Action


When Gilda Stanbery of Richmond, Virginia, got the phone call from Janelle Daniel, an HR Director, saying Gilda’s husband Rec had a pulmonary event while working as a third-party DP instructor and was in a Brazilian hospital, she was invited to fly to her husband’s side.

“At this point, let me articulate to you how amazing your people were every step of the way over what turned out to be a 16-day ordeal,” Robert King, Rec’s stepson, wrote in a letter to Steven Newman, Transocean Ltd. President and CEO. “From Janelle Daniel and Sherry Martin in Houston to Maria Nikolic and the folks in Macae who helped Rec on that initial day, so many Transocean people were generous, patient and kind to Rec and (more importantly to me) my mother.”

Gilda didn’t have a visa to Brazil, nor did Robert. But Janelle made arrangements for them to fly from Richmond to Houston that same day so Transocean’s travel and immigration department could get the visa process started. Two days later, they arrived in Rio de Janeiro.  The Transocean team also made arrangements to get Rec a medevac from Macae, where he was working at the company’s training center, to the best hospital possible in Rio de Janeiro. “We are convinced that this move saved his life,” Robert stated in his letter.

Three days after Gilda and Robert’s arrival to the hospital, Rec awoke, alert and able to hold a conversation. “We regaled him with stories of how Transocean had taken care of him and us since his event,” Robert said. “Needless to say he was impressed.” Rec remained a couple of more days in semi-intensive care and continued his recovery.

Maria Nikolic, Human Resources Manager in Brazil, met with Gilda and Robert one evening, where they expressed their gratitude to Transocean for everything they had done.

“Maria described a corporate culture that was people-centric. She said that you, Mr. Newman, espoused a phrase I can’t remember now, but it had something to do with taking care of your people and letting them know that you care,” wrote Robert. “And that’s part of your mission for your people, too, to carry out this culture. Maria spoke clearly about it and was living proof of a desired culture in action.”

Rec recovered, and was discharged 14 days after the health incident and stayed at the hotel with Gilda a couple of more days until he was ready for a flight home to Richmond. Everyone was elated.

Robert’s letter to Steven Newman helped reiterate the overarching importance of safety at Transocean.

“Mr. Newman, I’d like to shout from the rooftops about your company, your people, your culture, and generosity,” wrote Robert. “Thank you! Thank you for the opportunity to express our collective gratitude for all that Transocean did and, by extension, all that you did to help save Rec Stanbery’s life.”


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