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Executive Profile: J. Brandon Black

Brandon Black knows he’s not exactly in a warm and fuzzy industry, but it’s his chosen career , one where he’s made his mark.

In October, Black, 37, who already holds the titles of president and chief operating officer, takes over as chief executive of Encore Capital Group, a San Diego-based public company that buys and collects defaulted consumer debt.

In other words, Black is in the collections business.

It’s not always easy telling people what he does.

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“What most people usually think of is some guy named Guido knocking on their door,” he said.

“But what we are is the check and balance of the economy. If there were no collection industry, no one would ever pay their bills because there would be no recourse.”

Black has been at Encore since 2000, when he was retained as part of the management team of West Capital Financial Services, a San Diego collections firm acquired by Encore. He has about 10 years in senior management roles in the collections industry, and 16 years overall in financial services.

A native Philadelphian and die-hard Eagles fan since his youth, Black admitted he took a few days to recover from the loss to the New England Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl. If he had to select a new career, Black said he would love to have Eagles coach Andy Reid’s job.

Apropos for a bill collector: coveting what losers’ hold.


RESUME

Name: J. Brandon Black.

Position: President and chief operating officer.

Company: Encore Capital Group.

Birthplace: Philadelphia.

Age: 37.

Residence: Poway.

Education: Bachelor’s in business administration, College of William and Mary; master’s in business administration, University of Richmond.

Family: Fianc & #233;e, Dana; son, Trevor.


BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

Essential philosophy about being in business: Hire the right people; make empirically based business decisions and know when to take a risk.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Never assume success will continue into the future.

Guiding principles: Trust that most people are doing their best; try not to make assumptions; keep your promises; and have fun every day.

Yardstick for success: Employee retention.

Goals yet to be achieved: Broadening our revenue sources beyond the core business by acquiring one or two other companies.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Best career decision: Not giving up on the dream that our business model would work during some very difficult financial times.

Worst business decision: Letting emotion drive the decision when I left a prior employer.

Toughest business decision: Having to terminate a good friend for lack of performance.

Biggest missed opportunity: Passing on lucrative portfolio purchases due to short-term operational constraints.

Mentor: Carl Gregory, current CEO and soon to be vice chairman of Encore Capital Group.

Word that describes you: Charismatic.


TRUE CONFESSIONS

What I like best about my job: Having the freedom to try and pursue new ideas and seeing them through to their conclusion.

What I like least about my work: Explaining to everybody I meet why “collections” is not a bad word.

Pet peeve: People who don’t spell check their e-mails.

Most important lesson learned: You can’t know everything.

Person most interested in meeting: Chris Rock.

Most-respected competitor: Portfolio Recovery Associates, a collections company based in Norfolk, Va.

Three greatest passions: Whatever my 6-year-old son likes to do; family; sports.

First choice for a new career: Head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.


PREDILECTIONS

Favorite quote: “All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them” , Walt Disney.

Favorite cause: San Diego Police Foundation.

Most influential book: “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins.

Favorite status symbol: My home in Poway.

Favorite movie: “Braveheart.”

Favorite restaurant: Pamplemousse Grille in Solana Beach.

Favorite vacation spot: Maui, Hawaii.

Favorite way to spend time: Enjoying time with family and friends.

My automobile: 2002 Toyota 4-Runner.

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