A new chief executive at Jacobs and multiple appointments at Arup, Atkins and Kier are just a few of the bundle of new appointments seen in January as companies of all sizes install new heads in high places to help achieve their goals for 2023.
A round up of the biggest moves and appointments during the month is below. To feature on next month’s appointments roundup email [email protected].
Jacobs confirms new chief executive
Bob Pragada has been appointed as Jacobs chief executive officer and joins the company’s board of directors. He has over 30 years of global business leadership including the last 17 with Jacobs and nine years as a Civil Engineer Corps and Seabees Officer with the US Navy. Pragada will remain focused on Jacobs’ efforts to align its portfolio to attractive, high-growth sectors – specifically in the areas of water infrastructure, environmental resiliency, energy transition, EV, life sciences and semiconductor manufacturing – leveraging the company’s deep domain experience and unique capabilities to create a more connected, sustainable world.
New transport head at Atkins
Atkins has appointed Andrew English as its new managing director of its transport division in UK and Europe. He joins from leading Australian engineering contractor John Holland Group, where he was executive general manager of its infrastructure business. His 35-year career has also seen him hold a senior leadership position at Balfour Beatty and as managing director of Skanska UK’s infrastructure division. In his role at Atkins, English will be responsible for driving further growth in the rail, highways and local transport markets, while overseeing the delivery of existing major transportation contracts and supporting the industry’s digitally driven transition to net zero.
Atkins strengthens offshore wind offering with three new appointments
Three new directors have been appointed at Atkins to boost the capability of its offshore wind team.
Wangwhen Zhao has been appointed as offshore wind engineering director with the intention of enhancing the team’s technical expertise. She has 15 years’ experience in offshore wind and more than 30 years in the energy sector, including time at Mott MacDonald.
Gareth Johnson is Atkins’ new director of offshore environment and renewables, bringing experience from maritime and energy sectors. He moves over from at Ørsted, the largest offshore wind developer in the world, where he helped manage their Strategic Environment and Permitting team and ran the company’s environment R&D programme.
Tim Carter joins Atkins as associate director specialising in environmental impact assessment (EIA). He has plenty of experience in EIA for major infrastructure across a wide range of sectors, including marine and coastal projects. He has previously been technical director at JBA and head of environment with Tidal Lagoon Power.
National Grid shakes up leadership team structure to enable large-scale infrastructure delivery
In December, Ofgem confirmed that National Grid will be responsible for the delivery of 17 major onshore electricity projects and now the energy distributor has restructured to bring in experience to help with the delivery of these projects.
Carl Trowell has been appointed to lead a new business unit that will focus on delivering these 17 projects as well as other strategic projects in the quest for net zero. He will also sit on the group executive. He joins from marine energy and infrastructure services company Acteon Group and has previously been chief executive of Ensco (now Volaris) and worked at Schlumberger.
Alice Delahunty will remain president of National Grid Electricity Transmission, which will be in charge of operating the onshore projects once constructed.
National Grid has also announced the departure of National Grid Electricity Distribution president Phil Swift, who will leave on 31 March. Current president of National Grid Ventures Cordi O’Hara will take up his departed role from 1 April.
Moving into O’Hara’s role at National Grid Ventures on an interim basis will be Ben Wilson, who is currently chief strategy and external affairs officer.
Arup strengthens energy operations with multiple new appointments
Jemima Bruin-Bland has been appointed as Arup associate director. A former strategy consultant with KPMG and PwC, Bruin-Bland’s role will focus on developing and delivering products and services at C-suite level that assist clients to consider the impact of the transforming energy system on their business strategy.
The role of energy regulation leader has been taken up by Neol Copeland, who previously worked for Ofgem for 12 years. At Arup, he will give commercial and regulatory advice to public and private sector clients.
Mike Copson has been appointed as associate director with a focus on growing Arup’s energy work within Liverpool and other UK industrial clusters. He has spent the majority of his career with Shell.
Other new Arup energy appointments:
- Craig McCafferty as industrial decarbonisation and hydrogen business leader
- Graeme McCann as resources director of renewables
- Sally Prickett and director of hydrogen, CCUS and new fuels
- Robert Silver as projects and programmes energy business leader
Costain appoints director for newly-formed business
Costain has combined its defence and nuclear businesses, bringing together capability in a more operationally efficient and effective structure, and has appointed Bob Anstey as its director. Anstey has had a distinguished 36-year career in the Royal Navy where he completed strategic deterrent submarine patrols while at sea, and focused on training capability management and support to operations while on land. He was awarded an OBE in 2020. At Costain, Anstey will ensure that the company maintains existing strategic relationships across the defence and nuclear landscape.
Systra’s executive board gains a new managing director
Sébastien Dupont has become Systra managing director consultancy (UK-IRL), joining the company’s executive board. Dupont has worked for Systra since 2017, when he became chief financial officer for Latin America while living in Såo Paulo, Brazil. He moved to London in 2019 to take up the role as Systra international chief financial officer. His career has seen him spend over 20 years in the transport engineering and automotive sectors. His new role will see him support the sustainable growth of the business, raising the profile of its many thought-leading technical and digital experts.
Experienced figure joins as non-executive director of Civic Engineers parent company
Michelle McDowell has been appointed as non-executive director of Civic+, the parent company of UK-wide civil, structural and transport engineering firm Civic Engineers. McDowell has most recently been BDP principal and chair of civil and structural engineering, but has gained vast experience across her 38 years in construction. She became the first woman vice-president of the Institution of Civil Engineers at the age of 37, was the first woman chair of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering and in 2010 was awarded an MBE for services to construction. At Civic+, she will help to guide the strategic direction of Civic Engineers and consider , the incorporation of new complementary service offerings and other opportunities for growth.
Network Rail appoints managing director to biggest Northern rail project
Neil Holm has been appointed as Network Rail’s managing director for the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) between Manchester and York, the biggest rail project in the North of England. Holm was previously programme director for the TRU and prior to that was programme director for HMS Prince of Wales Aircraft Carrier, where he was responsible for leading the carrier through assembly, commissioning and sea trials to final delivery with the Royal Navy. He has also been head of programme for the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.
Incoming commercial director at Tilbury Douglas
Martyn Smith has been appointed as the commercial director at Tilbury Douglas, moving across from Ferrovial Construction where he held the same title. He brings more than 25 years of experience to the role, including time at Kier, Costain and Vinci. Smith will be responsible for the development and implementation of the business’ commercial strategy.
New chief executive for Balfour Beatty’s US buildings and civils
Effective from April, Eric Stenman will be chief executive officer of Balfour Beatty US buildings and civils, and will also sit on the group executive committee, reporting directly to the Group chief executive officer Leo Quinn. Smith joined Balfour in 2008 as part of the Group’s acquisition of Leon Blondin, and over the last 14 years has held various roles up to his most recent role as president of Balfour Beatty US. His new role as buildings and civils chief executive will see him lead the circa $4.5bn (£3.7bn) revenue portfolio and around 4,000 employees.
New chief operating officer at Mace Consult
Mace Consult has appointed Davendra Dabasia as chief operating officer. He has worked for Mace since 2007 and was instrumental in the group’s work on the London 2012 Olympics. He moves across from his role as Mace managing director for international. Dabasia will also now take up a role on the Mace executive board and will take responsibility for boosting Mace’s global delivery capability and growth, transforming Mace’s consultancy service offer, and embedding best practice across Mace’s consultancy teams around the world.
CECA appoints new rail director
Hannah Rock has been appointed the new rail director at Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA). She has worked in the rail industry for over two decades, with much of her time spent at Kier and Aspin. She will replace the outgoing Bill Free and continue to work alongside contractors in the UK rail industry.
Two new health leads at Sisk
John Sisk & Son has appointed Nadeem Chaudhry as health sector lead and Imran Patel as project director, healthcare, both of whom have over 20 years of experience in healthcare construction.
Chaudhry has extensive experience in bidding and delivering healthcare projects in the southeast including, Watford, Luton, Kings College, Heatherwood and Newham University Hospitals.
Patel, meanwhile, has helped to bid, win, and deliver major healthcare projects including Luton, Heatherwood, Broomfield, Lewisham, Oxford Radcliffe, Wolverhampton Heart and Lung Centre and Burnley General Hospitals
Kier Construction creates new science role
Kier Construction has appointed Lee Sturdy to its newly-created science and technology director role, where he will lead on the business’ life sciences capability as it expands in this specialist sector. Sturdy is a chartered engineer with over 30 years of experience in the science and health sectors, including most recently as John Sisk & Son sector leader for life sciences and advanced manufacturing.
Kier promotes internally for chief people officer
Kier Group has promoted Louisa Finlay from Kier Construction clients and markets managing director to chief people officer. She takes over from Helen Redfern and will be part of Kier Group’s executive committee. Finlay has worked for Kier for over 30 years since joining as a trainee engineer on a sandwich degree. During that time she has worked in various sectors in the business, including holding the role of managing director of Kier Southern Construction.
New MD for Bam Properties
Bam Properties, the development business for Bam UK and Ireland, has appointed Euan Miller as managing director. He has been with the business since joining as legal director 16 years ago. He has spent the last few months as interim managing director, and following his key roles in successful delivery of major development projects over the years he has now stepped into the role permanently.
Executive board addition at Cowi
Cowi’s executive board has expanded with the addition of Marius Weydahl Berg, the company’s new chief business development officer. Berg moves over from Cowi in Norway – one of the group’s biggest subsidiaries – where he was executive vice president and looked after more than 1,300 employees.
Duo of upward moves at Bentley Systems
Infrastructure engineering software leader Bentley Systems has promoted Brock Ballard from vice president and regional executive, Americas, to chief revenue officer. He has previously served in sales leadership positions with Dassault Systèmes, Autodesk, and Océ. He succeeds the retiring Gus Bersma, who had been with the company since the acquisition of RAM International in 2005.
Meanwhile, Eric Boyer has become Systra’s inaugural investor relations officer, bringing over 20 years of experience in investor relations and equity research, a deep knowledge of capital markets, and a strong network of relationships.
New chairperson for Rail Baltica supervisory board
RB Rail AS, the coordinator behind the new 870km railway through the Batlic states, has appointed Ligita Austrupe as its new chairperson for its supervisory board, replacing Romas Švedas in the annually rotating role. Austrupe has spent 20 years working in roles involving the administration of EU funds, including the supervision and audit of EU funded projects. She has aided in implementing various transport infrastructure development projects in Latvia and has been monitoring and implementing the Latvian leg of Rail Baltica.
Institution of Engineering and Technology appoints new chief exec
Ed Almond has taken up the role of chief executive and secretary of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). He is an IET fellow and has worked for the IET for 21 years, becoming director of finance in 2006. He held that role until becoming interim chief executive and secretary in summer 2022.
New COO at Geobear
International ground engineering organisation Geobear has appointed Peter Luby as chief operating officer. He moves across from Network Rail where he was head of capital delivery, leading teams that worked on behalf of HS2. He has over 22 years of experience in the construction industry, having worked in maintenance, renewals and major projects.
Hilti US marketing director moves to UK for senior role
Leading construction technology firm Hilti has seen its North American marketing director Thibaud Lefebvre move from the USA to the UK to take up a senior leadership role on the company’s GB and Northern European regions. He is now GB vice president and a member of the Northern European leadership team, covering Britain, Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. He started working for Hilti in 2001 in his native France and has worked in several divisions in Europe and North America during his more than two decades under the company’s umbrella.
Evolve appoints new MD
London-based structural engineering consultancy Evolve has appointed Ian Craig as managing director, which comes in tandem with the company’s celebration of 21 years in business. Craig is the co-founder and director of Evolve, and has overseen its growth over the last two decades. His new role will see him focus on leading the business forward and implementing its revamped vision, mission and business strategy to map out a new path for future growth.
Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.