Ex Jacobs Executive Becomes Wood CEO

Ex Jacobs Executive Becomes Wood CEO
The appointment follows an extensive selection process that considered both internal and external candidates.

John Wood Group plc has announced the appointment of Ken Gilmartin as its new chief executive officer, effective from July 1.

Gilmartin’s appointment follows an extensive selection process that considered both internal and external candidates, Wood noted. The new CEO will succeed Robin Watson, who announced his intention to retire in April. Watson will step down from the board effective July 1 and will remain with Wood until September 30 in an advisory role to support a smooth transition, Wood outlined.

Gilmartin joined Wood as chief operating officer in August 2021 after 15 years with Jacobs. In his time at Jacobs, Gilmartin held a variety of executive, operational and project leadership roles, and was most recently the executive vice president of the firm’s people and places solutions business, Wood highlighted.  

“Ken has brought a wealth of industry experience and excellent strategic and leadership skills to Wood, and I am delighted that he will be our new chief executive officer,” Wood Chairman Roy Franklin said in a company statement.

“He has impressed the board with the impact he has made over the last nine months, where he has brought clarity, structure and focus, and a strong client-centric mindset to the role, and by his drive to lead the development of Wood’s future strategy. The board believes he is a great fit for Wood, with the combination of skills and experience to lead the business through its next strategic phase,” Franklin added in the statement.

“On behalf of the board, I thank Robin for his many years of service to the company and wish him all the best in his retirement,” Franklin continued.

Gilmartin said, “I joined Wood because I could see the great potential in the company, knowing the value of the skills and expertise required to deliver complex and critical projects, operations, and consultancy solutions”.

“In my short time with the business, I have been impressed by the quality of our people, and the strength of our culture and our client relationships, which provide strong foundations on which to build in the years ahead. I believe we have an exciting future in front of us as we capture growth opportunities in energy security and sustainability and deliver value for our shareholders over the medium term,” he added.

“I will work with Robin on a seamless transition and thank him for the guidance he has given me over the last nine months,” Gilmartin continued.

Watson said, “after ten years on the board of Wood and having reached an agreement for the sale of our Built Environment business, I am pleased that Ken will now lead the company into its next phase”.

“I wish Ken and everyone at Wood all the best and a very bright future,” Watson added.

On April 20, Wood announced that Watson had advised the board of his intention to retire as chief executive. In a company statement at the time, Wood said the process to appoint his successor would commence and noted that Watson would remain in his role until the successful candidate was in place.

Watson was appointed chief executive in January 2016, having previously joined the board in January 2013 as the CEO of Wood’s PSN division. Under Watson’s leadership, Wood has transformed into a leader in consulting and engineering across the global energy market, Wood said in a company statement back in April.

Wood has announced several appointments over the last few months. Back in February, the company revealed that it had appointed Jim Goff as senior vice president of life sciences and in November, Wood said it had strengthened its digital and technology leadership team with two new appointments.

During the same month, Wood announced that it had appointed Naeem Farooqi as global technical director of zero-emission mobility to further accelerate its role in urban mobility, decarbonization and transportation markets and Lesley Birse as executive president of people and organization.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com



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