Author: Kate Rose

Recruiting for Major Bids – What Are Your Options?

Across the Transport & Infrastructure sectors, there is a constant cycle of bidding and delivery. It is just part and parcel of the industries we work in.

We hear a lot about the big mega project tenders such as HS2 or Lower Thames Crossing, but the fact is that whether you are contractor, consultant, transport operator or developer, bidding for contracts will be an ongoing part of the business.

But just because it is a way of life, it doesn’t mean that it comes without its challenges.

Finding the balance when it comes to recruiting for bidding is an extremely common dilemma.

Often, companies will need additional expertise to win and deliver bids or to tackle new projects. But should that bid be unsuccessful, then what do you do with the new recruit? And how do you go about attracting a candidate to a role that may not even exist? It’s the classic chicken and egg conundrum.

In our experience, there are four approaches you could take to tackling the bid recruitment quandary.

1. Proactive upfront recruitment

Recruiting key members of staff before the bid is submitted is a risk, but one that may be worth taking.

Essentially, what you need to determine is, “do we need this new person to win the bid?”

If timescales are tight, and work will begin almost immediately after the contracts have been awarded, then yes, you will probably need this person to secure a win. Equally, if scarcity is an issue and the project is so specialised that only five people in the country have the skills to deliver it, it’s pretty critical to have one of those people on hand from the outset.

There may be some people that are so specialist and knowledgeable that having them involved in your bid will almost secure you the win.

The downside to this tactic is that you could potentially end up with an employee that you don’t have a comparable job for. Likewise, it can be harder to get a candidate to join for a project that you haven’t secured yet.

From a candidate’s perspective, they will want to understand the company’s ambitions are for the projects being bid for, that there is a commitment to provide the tools and resources to enable a reasonable chance of success, and what the plan B will be should the bid be unsuccessful.

A major contractor client of ours tackled this approach by recruiting a Project Director to work across a number of major bids. The projects are specialised enough that they require the skillset to stand a decent chance of winning, but they are minimising the risk by bringing someone to bid for multiple projects. The Director can then lead mobilisation and delivery of the successful bids.

2. Interims

Recruiting in freelance interims for the bid phase is an alternative option.

It can be a high cost during bidding but if you don’t win you can demobilise the team at a weeks’ notice. A disadvantage of this approach is that the interims likely won’t be around after to deliver the bid if successful, so it can lead to problems further down the line. Some clients also like to specify that key people named in the bid will have to be permanent employees.

3. Offer conditional on bid win

Sometimes companies prefer to recruit in advance and make an offer before the contract award on the basis that they win. The recruitment process is started before the bid is submitted and the candidate resigns from their current role if the bid is successful.

This approach requires trust from both parties.

From the company, you will need to share some sensitive details about your bid in order to ensure that the candidate is aligned with the strategies and direction you have committed to. And from the candidate’s side, they need to honour the commitment to the company – perhaps by agreeing to have their name mentioned in the bid.

A financial offer will need to be negotiated and agreed and everything lined up, deal done, with the offer accepted conditional on the bid win. So the obvious downside to this is that, if you don’t win, you’ve wasted a few weeks recruiting and managing the offer.

Another point to remember is that you will also have to factor in notice periods. So again, if you know the project will commence imminently after the award, then a candidate with a long notice period isn’t going to be ideal.

silhouette of two engineers standing at electricity station, discussing plan

4. Recruit if you win

Waiting to get the result of the bid is clearly the most straight forward option when it comes to recruitment. You will have a concrete role to sell to candidates, you won’t need a plan B and you won’t have to entrust sensitive information pre-bid.

However, when you consider that the search process could easily take a couple of months (potentially more if the role is highly niche) and add on to that a 3 month notice period, you could be looking at 5-6 months from the contract being awarded to the candidate starting.

If you know that you’ve got the time for this process and can win the bid without the new talent, then this approach makes sense. But if this might be cutting it fine, or would jeopardise the chance of winning the contract entirely, then one of the other options will be better suited.

Recruiting around bidding activity is far from an easy decision and each situation will require a different approach, or perhaps even a mixture of all four.

We have worked with many clients over the years that have had different approaches to the bid-recruitment dilemma. If you’re not sure which option works best for you, get in touch to see how we can help.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Research – The First Step to Finding the Best Talent

Have you ever gone shopping with the exact picture in your mind of the item you want to buy?

You have no idea if this imaginary, all bells and whistles item exists, if it’s affordable or where you might find it. You just know that it has to be exactly like it.

Sometimes, you hit the jackpot. Sometimes, after a lot of searching, you realise you need to compromise.

Executive Search is no different. Our clients come to us with an imaginary candidate in mind. An exact brief of what their dream person looks like, and don’t know how to go about finding them – which is good news for us, because if they could find them, we would be twiddling our thumbs!

In order to find that ideal candidate. You have to do your research.

All good Executive Searches start with a solid foundation of research, and here is why…

1. Benchmarking

Even in the best of client relationships, there is room for misunderstanding or error when conveying a brief. After a thorough search of the market, we present you with a longlist of candidates and a short description of their career history.

This means that at the very beginning of a search, you can give constructive feedback on which potential options are spot on and any that missing the mark. Without this comprehensive approach, you could get to the shortlist stage, 6 weeks down the line and be presented with a list of names that make no sense at all for your business.

It also allows you the opportunity to veto any names that you have prior experience with or that are sensitive to approach.

2. Mapping the market

It’s crucial to any search, that all parties understand the current state of the market. The Transport & Infrastructure sectors are fast project-based environments that move on very quickly. Your idea of what the talent market looks like from your last executive search could be very different from the realities of today.

Capture 14

Presenting you with an exhaustive map of the market identifies any opportunities or companies that are clearly good targets to recruit from and highlights any areas that you perhaps assumed would be more fruitful than others.

We can also provide salary benchmarking advice at this stage to make sure that your expectations are aligning with the market.

3. What is realistic

Once you can clearly visualise the available talent pool, it helps to solidify if your brief is realistic or if you need to make some tweaks.

Sometimes, that unicorn of a candidate that you can see in your mind’s eye, just doesn’t exist or isn’t within budget.  But that is ok. The point of research is to identify what does exist and how that can be adapted to work for your business.

More often than not, candidates that are a little unexpected end up bringing new ideas and initiatives to a business that improve processes and systems.

Over 20 years’ experience of executive search, I have seen first-hand just how critical it is to get that initial research stage really nailed. It is pivotal to understanding your requirements and getting a successful placement.

To find out more about our approach to research and how our in-house research team can help you please do get in touch.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Contracts and Frameworks – Who’s won what

It’s great to see that infrastructure expenditure and the pipeline of projects across the UK is still thriving. Since our last update, there has been a huge amount of activity in this space.

Check out the latest contracts awarded…


Dublin Airport Authority

Atkins has been appointed as the multi-disciplinary consultant for the delivery of a services framework for its buildings at Dublin and Cork airports for the next five years.



Kier’s highways division has won a £460m contract to design and deliver an upgrade to the A417 between Gloucester and Swindon, known as “the missing link”.

Medium Schemes Framework (MSF4)

Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try, John Sisk & Son and Eurovia Infrastructure have been appointed to deliver a four-year highways framework, worth £1bn. The scheme covers work in more than 30 local councils, and will focus on civil and municipal works.

Operational Technology Commercial Framework

Turner & Townsend, Mott MacDonald and Pell Frischmann are among the 65 suppliers that have secured a position on National Highways’ £500m Operational Technology Commercial Framework.


The £1.25 billion contract which includes the Stonehenge Tunnel has been won by a three-way European joint venture of Spanish contractor FCC, Italy’s WeBuild, and Austria’s BeMo Tunnelling. As the design joint venture, the FCC-led JV has enlisted Atkins, Jacobs, and Spanish designer Sener.

North Northamptonshire Council

Kier has won a highways maintenance contract worth up to £420m. The contract is worth £30m a year. It is due to run for at least seven years, with the option of being extended for up to 14 years.

KierWSP JV also announced that they will continue to provide highways network infrastructure maintenance and management services for Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) for a further 16 months. They have been the incumbent on this contract for the past 12 years.

London Borough of Islington

Marlborough Highways has secured a £32m contract to maintain North London’s highways. The contract will be worth about £4.6m per year, with the potential for a further two-year extension.

fast moving train



Laing O’Rourke will design and build HS2’s 150-hectare Interchange Station in Solihull. They won the £370m contract ahead of Unity (a joint venture between Sir Robert McAlpine, VolkerFitzpatrick and WSP) and Skanska.

Work on the site will start next year. However, a target completion date will be set after the detailed design is finished.

Piccadilly Line

Balfour Beatty has announced that it has won a £50 million contract for upgrade work the Piccadilly line. This is the first package that has been let under the ‘London Underground High Voltage (HV) Power framework’.

Elephant & Castle

Is seeking suppliers to deliver the next stage of the vital capacity upgrade project at Elephant & Castle tube station. The contract will involve the design and construction of passenger tunnels connecting the new station box to the existing platforms, and associated civil works associated with the completion of the new station box.

Ebbw Vale Frequency Enhancement (EVFE)

The design contract for the rail project in Wales has been awarded to Systra. The 12-month design contract involves civil and structural engineering, geotechnical, environmental, and architectural interventions. Systra will be working with contractor AmcoGiffen, which is carrying out the project’s £20m construction works.

Midlands Rail Hub

Network Rail has published a prior information notice (PIN) related to its Midlands Rail Hub proposal. The Hub would see the creation of a “station square” between Birmingham Moor Street and Curzon Street to connect the two stations and allow passengers to move seamlessly between the traditional rail network and the forthcoming High Speed 2. The current PIN estimates that contracts will be published in January 2023.

Network Rail

Have started the hunt for firms to deliver a £2bn works and renewal programme for control period 7 in the Wales and Western territories. The five-year framework will cover the majority of the Buildings and Civils portfolios such as Structures, Geotechnical Off-track & Drainage and Stations & Buildings.


Awarded a National Rail Contract (NRC) to Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to continue operating the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail services. The new contract began on 1 April 2022 and will run until at least 1 April 2025, with up to a further three years at the Secretary of State’s discretion.


Rise Construction Framework Ltd

Morgan Sindall and Galliford Try are among dozens of contractors appointed to a £6bn deal to provide work across the north of England. The full list if contractors on the 17-lot framework can be found here.

YORbuild3 Medium Works frameworks

16 contractors have won places across the £640m Yorkshire frameworks, including Kier, Galliford Try, Morgan Sindall and Willmott Dixon. Lot 1 is designed for works valued between £4m and £10m; and for new housing, Lot 2 covers developments of more than 25 units. They will replace the existing YORbuild2 frameworks, which expire in August. The full list can be found here.


Have appointed 29 firms to it’s demolition framework. The list includes Eric Wright Civil Engineering, Buckingham Group, Keltbray and VINCI.

Knight Dragon

Mace has been chosen to deliver up to £2bn of construction work over the next decade at the Greenwich Peninsula in London for private developer Knight Dragon. The agreement will see the two firms work together to deliver four plots on the Lower Riverside scheme, as well as other plots on Meridian Quays.

Kent County Council

Morgan Sindall, Kier, Baxall Construction and WW Martin have won places on a £500m building framework for the South East of England. The Property Construction Partnership Framework, covers new builds, extensions, alterations and refurbishments to public sector buildings, especially schools..

London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC)

Atkins has won a place on the latest London Legacy Development Corporation framework. The company has secured the development framework place from the organisation overseeing the 2012 Olympics legacy – extending its relationship with the London site to more than 20 years by the end of the contract.



National Grid

J1M, the Jacobs/Morrison energy services JV, has been awarded three contracts to support Pembroke, Lackenby and Bramley substation projects under National Grid’s six-year substations engineering procurement construction framework.

Salamander Floating Wind Project

Wood has been awarded the Principal Designer and Pre-FEED scope for Salamander, the 100MW floating wind farm development located 35km off Peterhead in the East Coast of Scotland. The Salamander project is a joint venture between Simply Blue Group, Ørsted and Subsea 7.

Berwick Bank

Kent has secured a contract to provide concept designs for SSE Renewables for work on a major offshore wind project. Berwick Bank will be located in the North Sea, in the outer Firth of Forth, and has the potential to  deliver up to 4.1 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Movers and Shakers in Transport & Infrastructure – The Headlines from July 2022

July has seen melting train tracks, England’s Women have made us proud at Euro 2022 and we have said “Hasta La Vista” to BoJo.

But Boris isn’t the only one who has been updating his CV’s, lets take a look at the Movers and Shakers across Transport & Infrastructure from July…


Have announced John Morea is to retire in August having served as CEO since 2008. Mark Wild has been announced as his successor, joining SGN on 15 August. Wild most recently lead the successful opening of the Elizabeth line as CEO of Crossrail.

Mott MacDonald

Have appointed Cathy Travers to Group Managing Director, succeeding James Harris who becomes Executive Chair. Richard Risdon will take over from Travers to become Managing Director of the UK and Europe region. Risdon has most recently been Operations Director for the Mott MacDonald Bentley contracting business.

United Utilities

Jane Simpson has joined as Capital Delivery Director. She has been Service Delivery Director at Royal Mail for the last 2 years and also sits on the board of Port of Dover.


Have announced that CEO David Allen is stepping down with immediate effect. Allen joined the Wates Group in January 2016 and has been CEO since April 2018. Philip Wainwright, Chief Financial Officer, will become interim CEO pending the appointment of a permanent successor.


Have appointed Andrew Gardner as Operations Director (Delivery) supporting all business units. He leaves Pod Trak where he has been Director of Operations.


Have announced that Jacqueline Starr, CEO of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has joined as an Advisor to the Directors.


Have appointed Kayleigh Owen as Global Service Director for Cost and Commercial Management (CCM). Owen started her career on the Arcadis graduate scheme in 2007 and has most recently been Account Director for Highways England.


Have appointed Dr Linda Wain as the new Engineering Director, the first female to take the role. Wain has been Head of Engineering.

Environment Agency

Former Costain Chief Executive and Interserve Chairman, Alan Lovell has been appointed Chair of the Environment Agency.


James Rowntree joins as Strategic Growth Director. Rowntree was formerly Vice President of Strategic Consulting and Digital Solutions at Jacobs before leaving earlier this year to provide management consultancy support to blue chip clients in the infrastructure sector.

Tilbury Douglas

Managing Director for Infrastructure Chris Tyerman is to leave the company amid a restructure of its board. All operations will in future report to Head of UK Building Craig Tatton. Tyerman joined the firm from Costain in 2014.


Lisa Martin has been appointed as UK Managing Director for Steer. She has been Director and Joint Head of Planning since September 2021. Martin takes over from Mike Goggin who recently moved internally to become Managing Director – Transformation & Growth.


Sian Leydon has moved internally to become Managing Director for Mainland Europe. She has been Chief Transformation Officer since March 2021.

James Higlett also leaves Arriva where he has been for the last 17 years, most recently as Head of Engineering UK Bus. His replacement is yet to be announced.

Glan Agua

Paul Green has joined as Operations Director (UK). Green has most recently been Portfolio Director at RSE and before that was Project Director at nmcn.

The Hub

Have announced that Kelly Barlow has joined The Hub’s senior leadership team as Director in the Transport Advisory business on a part time basis. Barlow was previously HR Director and Bid Director for Stagecoach Rail and over the last two years has led advisory engagements for The Hub with the Department for Transport, including on Operator of Last Resort.


Johnny Ojeil joins as Director, he leaves Arup where he has been since 1989, and Director within the Transport Planning Team since 2005.

Looking to make any changes to your senior teams or need salary benchmarking advice for a potential senior hire? Book an introduction call to discuss your needs in more detail.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

How to Recruit a Prime Minister

It’s hard to listen to the news around the selection process of the next Conservative party leader and not draw comparisons to executive search.

When a business is in turmoil and its staff are losing faith, it’s more often than not the one at the helm that faces the chop. As Boris put it, “thems the breaks.”

Let’s face it, it’s a tough role to fill. Whether you were with or against Boris, it is undeniable that his successor will be coming into a difficult situation. It is not a nice, comfortable handover into a role which will be plain sailing. They’ll immediately be confronted with a war in Europe, a cost-of-living crisis, the Northern Ireland protocol conundrum and an erosion in public trust of politicians.

But is that really all that much different from recruiting a new CEO to turnaround a struggling business?

Think about Balfour Beatty back in 2014, share prices had slumped and shareholder faith was weaning. So, in came Leo Quinn to restructure, prioritise sectors they were willing to work in and revaluate their attitude to risk. And now Balfour Beatty is back delivering consistent profits.

So out of those in the race, who is up to the task?

The process of taking a longlist of candidates and whittling them down to a good, solid shortlist is something we are very familiar with, which got me thinking.

If Newsom Consulting were retained on an executive search for the next PM, what would we be measuring our candidates against? What would be the essential skills and requirements for the next Prime Minister given the challenge they will be inheriting?

1. Resilience

It’s a job that is going to face a lot of criticism and push back. Having the strength of character to make the tough decisions and not be deterred by making the unpopular calls are essential characteristics for successful turnaround leaders.

2. Motivations

The core motivations for taking on the role have to be sound and align with the organisation (or country). The ideal is the Level 5 Leader (as defined by Jim Collins in Good to Great) who has humility and takes decisions that are in best interests of their organisation, which will not always be the decision that is best for themselves.

This is a tough criteria to measure. How do you know that candidates are being honest about their motivations for considering a new role? We find personality profiling to be a very useful tool for measuring motivations and drivers in behaviour.

3. Managing Conflict

When times get tough, you often find that groups of people will divide off into groups. A great leader will be able to engage with these different entities and bring them together to reach a common goal. Leaders of a turnaround need to be prepared to be hands on in their leadership style at times, understanding exactly what is happening in every function of the business.

4. Communication

It is crucial that any new leader brought on board can convey a sense of calm, control and confidence to all stakeholders, even if the strategy for recovery is still uncertain.

Individuals must be able to articulate the company’s direction and strategies for reaching the new objectives. Communicating at all levels of the business, motivating those in the board room with them, and those on the front line.

When major change is required people will be nervous and morale will be low, leaders must be a spokesperson for the company motivating teams to change and to get on board with new approaches.

5. Decision Maker

Logical, objective decision makers are what is needed in challenging circumstances. Companies must do whatever is necessary to survive and the person leading that charge will need to sometimes make quick, tough choices to implement strategies that either no one has considered before or been brave enough to execute.

They must be able to quickly determine where resources should be sent, which business units can secure the company’s immediate survival and eliminate those that are draining profits or show poor promise.

This is where competency-based interviews are extremely useful. Asking candidates to describe where they have experience of this kind of decision making and to provide examples will be a great tool for helping to narrow down your candidates.

Now I couldn’t possibly comment on how the Tory leadership candidates compare to our hypothetical job spec, but at the very least they’ve achieved the most diverse longlist in modern British history, which is definitely refreshing.

What traits do you think are most important for leaders coming into a struggling business?

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

5 Ways you can Counter that Counter Offer

It’s a candidate’s market.

It’s a phrase we hear so much at the moment it’s almost up there with “the new normal” for cliches we should leave in 2021.

But it’s a fact, the demand for good quality, skilled candidates far outweighs supply meaning that hanging on to your talent is more important that ever before. While we would predict that this will even out a bit towards the end of the year, right now, we are definitely experiencing a huge increase in candidates receiving counter offers.

And not just a token offer either. Companies are desperate to retain their employees, and this is reflected in the proposals being made. In a normal market, you can expect candidates to get countered c10-15%. We are currently seeing counter offers in the region of 15-25%.

Three main factors are contributing to this. The fact that supply versus demand is out of kilter and companies simply can’t risk losing their talent to their competitors. Staggering inflation rates are shifting the importance of salary meaning people are willing to push harder for salary increases. And, as many businesses are increasing their headcounts, there is often more scope for promotion or career progression.

All three factors have created the perfect storm and companies faced with a letter of resignation are more than willing to offer more money or bigger jobs.

So, as a business looking to make critical hires, how do you ensure that a counter offer won’t swoop in and lure your ideal candidates away?

1. Expect the offer

If your candidate is as good as you think they are, then they will be counter offered. Don’t let this come as a surprise. There are the odd companies (often public sector companies) who have a blanket ban on counter offering, but this is the exception not the rule.

2. Understand the candidate’s motivations and sell, sell, sell

Getting to the root of why they would be interested in changing roles means that you can then target your sales strategy accordingly.

  • Why is your business better?
  • Why is the role better?
  • Will it offer greater variation, more interesting work or better career progression?
  • What do your people have to offer? What are the learning opportunities?
  • How is your benefits package better, or your flexible working policy?

3. Avoid delays

The more delays in the process, the more likely you are to lose your candidate. If you have a lengthy process with weeks in between interview stages and then a convoluted offer process that needs to be signed off by every Director and their dog, the chances are your candidates will lose interest, lose faith in you as a business and that shiny counter offer is going to look very appealing.

If delays are unavoidable, then explain the situation and keep candidates updated. If the process is smooth you stand a much better chance of securing a candidate.

4. Stay in touch

I cannot stress enough the importance of regular contact with your candidates. As a headhunter, we can of course touch base with prospects frequently and keep them in the loop regarding the process. But ultimately, they won’t be working with us.

You have to assume that their line manager is sitting down with them every day, maybe twice a day, and doing everything they possibly can to convince them to stay. If they haven’t heard from you for two weeks, they’re going to start doubting their decision to leave.

5. Go in high

Don’t try and get away with the bare minimum offer and enter into lengthy negotiations. You won’t win.

Really consider the offer that you are going to make, circling back to what the candidate’s motivations to leave are. Salary isn’t everything, but at the moment it is more important than ever before.

If you can’t financially compete with the counter offer they have been made, be clear on why and emphasise the other benefits the move will bring them.

While we don’t think that the market will stay this way forever, it is the reality we are facing at the moment. Don’t risk losing quality talent at the last hurdle.

We are often asked by clients to provide salary benchmarking information and we are always happy to have an honest and open discussion on salary expectations. If you would like to find out more information on our salary benchmarking service, you can read more here.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Movers and Shakers in Transport & Infrastructure – The Headlines from June 2022

Wimbledon is here signifying the start of the Great British Summer time! Time to get the BBQ fired up and the Pimms on ice.

June has been a busy month for movers and shakers across Transport & Infrastructure. Check out the headlines below…

South Western Railway

Have announced that Stuart Meek will be joining its leadership team as Chief Operating Officer, following the retirement of Mike Houghton earlier this year. He is moving from Go-Ahead Group where he has been Operations Director for the past three years.


Have appointed Andy Beard as its Global Cost and Commercial Lead. Beard joins from Arcadis where he has been since 2004.

Darren Colderwood also joins Mace as Sizewell C Alliance Director, heading up the civil works alliance team. Colderwood has been Capital Delivery Director – Southern Region at Network Rail since last January and before that he was Director of Infrastructure & PMO at Heathrow Airport.

Stadler Rail

Paul Patrick has moved internally to become Managing Director. He joined Stadler as Engineering Director for the UK in 2020.

VolkerWessels UK

Richard Offord has moved up internally into the role of Chief Executive after 32 years with the business. Offord joined Fitzpatrick as an engineer in 1990, he has worked in several roles, most recently as Managing Director of VolkerFitzpatrick and Chief Operating Officer of the wider group in the UK.

Offord will take up his new position in August, replacing Alan Robertson, who will move into the newly created role of Chairman of the business.


Have announced its new Global Managing Partner. Carole O’Neil steps up to lead the business 15 years after she first joined and takes over from Tomás Neeson, who has been Managing Partner for eight years and will now act as Chair of Cundall’s partners.

Manchester Airport

MAG has announced the appointment of Chris Woodroofe as the new Managing Director of Manchester Airport. He joins from Chevron Traffic Management, where he has been Chief Operating Officer since October 2021, prior to that he was COO at Gatwick Airport.

He will be supported by Ian Costigan who will continue to oversee the airport’s operational functions, having been interim Managing Director since April.


Matt Browell-Hook has been appointed as the new Energy Director leading the company’s energy portfolio from strategic advisory to programme delivery. He joins from Kent where he was Market Director.


Have appointed Patrick Doig as interim Chief Financial Officer following the departure of Simon Kilonback.

Thames Water

Have appointed Richard Randolph as Asset Management & Investment Director. Randolph leaves Turner & Townsend having spent the last year as a Director in their Programme Advisory business.


Have appointed a new Regional Head of SHEQ, Scotland, Andrew Wilson. He leaves Roadbridge where he was UK Health and Safety Manager.

Flowbird Group

Natalie Poppleton moves internally to take up the position of Deputy Group Human Resources Director. She has been with Flowbird Transportation as Human Resources Director since 2020.


Justin Taylor moves to Porterbrook as Head of Commercial. He leaves Alstom where he has been Customer Director.


WSP have created a new business unit, Strategic Advisory, becoming the firm’s fifth business unit, alongside Property & Buildings, Transport & Infrastructure, Planning & Advisory and Water, Energy & Industry.

Strategic Advisory will be led by Ian Liddell who has been Managing Director of WSP’s Planning & Advisory business since January 2017. He has been succeeded in that role by Paul Reilly who joined from Stantec in early May.

WSP have also appointed Richard Stoodley as UK Director of Programme and PMO Services. Stoodley leaves National Highways where he has spent the last two years as Head of Profession: Programme and Project Management.


Have announced the appointment of Martijn Gilbert to the new role of Managing Director of its two open access operators Lumo and Hull Trains, joining in September. Gilbert has been Managing Director of Go-Ahead Group bus operator Go North East since August 2018.

Think Research

Have appointed Michael Fairbanks as ATM Director. He leaves Taylor Airey where he has been a Principal Consultant.

CrossCountry Trains

Mark Goodall joins as Service Delivery Director, leaving Chiltern Railways where he was Operations Director.

Sir Robert McAlpine

Have appointed Andrew Hunter as its new Director of Engineering.

Hunter succeeds Alison Cox, who became Managing Director for London last August.

Hitachi Rail

Stephen McGurk leaves Porterbrook where he was most recently Chief Portfolio Officer to join Hitachi Rail as their Special Projects Counsel.


Have appointed James Corker as Operations Director (Rail) to help lead its growth plans in the sector. Corker leaves Morgan Sindall where he was Area Director responsible for all Network Rail and third-party rail projects.

The Go-Ahead Group

Have announced two leadership appointments. Chris Peaker becomes Rail Strategy and Performance Director, while Phil Southall is seconded to the group from the Oxford Bus Company where he is Managing Director. He will take up the position of Bus Performance Director for 6 months.

Pell Frischmann

Richard Mansfield joins as Divisional Director and Rail Lead (North). He leaves Atkins where he was Project Director.

GB Railfreight

Dean Duthie has moved internally to become Head of Asset Delivery and Projects. He has been with the company since 2017, most recently as Head of Projects.


David Alexander joins as Projects Director. He leaves Mott MacDonald where he has been Projects Director, Rail Planning since 2017.

Unipart Rail

Anvesh Prasad has joined as Group Procurement and Supply Chain Director. He leaves Porterbrook where he was Head of Procurement for the last four years.

Lots of our contacts have been reaching out to us eager to get the ball rolling on executive searches before jetting off on summer holidays.

If you or your business are looking to make changes to your senior teams, please drop me an email to discuss your needs in more detail.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Movers and Shakers in Transport & Infrastructure – The Headlines from May 2022

Crossrail opened its doors to the public this week, just in time for the Queen’s Jubilee. A quick mention to say congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this momentous project.

Before we roll into the long weekend, take a look at who else will be celebrating. Here are the movers and shakers in Transport & Infrastructure from May…

Yorkshire Water

Nicola Shaw has been appointed as Chief Executive succeeding Liz Barber who retired this month. Shaw joins from National Grid where she was UK Executive Director. She was also previously CEO of High Speed 1 and is currently a Non-Executive Director of International Airlines Group.


Paul Reilly has joined as the new Managing Director for its Planning and Advisory (P&A) business. Reilly joins WSP from Stantec where he has been Managing Director of the firm’s UK and Ireland Infrastructure & Buildings business since January 2020.

Electricity North West

Have announced the appointment of Ian Smyth as Chief Executive Officer. He will succeed Peter Emery, who will step down later in the year. Smyth leaves UK Power Networks where he is an Executive Member of UK Power Networks and responsible for UK Power Networks Services.

BUUK Infrastructure

Former Amey Managing Director – Consulting & Rail, Nicola Hindle has been promoted internally to become the Chief Executive Officer. She joined BUUK Infrastructure in 2020 as Chief Operating Officer.

Transport Focus

Have announced the new Chair of Transport Focus will be former Chief Operating Officer of Keolis, Nigel Stevens. Stevens takes over from Jeff Halliwell, who has chaired the organisation since 2014. His appointment takes effect from 1 June 2022.


Have appointed Laing O’Rourke Chief Financial Officer Rowan Baker as Non-Executive Director. She joins as Chair of its audit committee as previous incumbent, Ralph Findlay, steps up to replace Ian Tyler as Chairman.

Balfour Beatty

Joanna Gilroy joins as Group Sustainability Director. She leaves Kier where she has been Group Head of Sustainability & Environment since 2019.

Ian Bridges has also retired as Professional Head of Signalling & Engineering Director. His replacement is expected to be announced shortly.

Transdev New Zealand

Peter Lensink has been appointed as Chief Officer and Managing Director. Most recently, Lensik led Transdev Auckland as Managing Director.


Garry Mowbray has taken the UK and Ireland Managing Director role at Wabtec, replacing Andy Derbyshire who has moved to the USA as Senior Vice President North America

VIA Rail

Cynthia Garneau has resigned as President & CEO. Chief Commercial Affairs Officer Martin Landry has been appointed to ‘ensure business continuity’ at the Canadian national passenger train operator.

Avanti West Coast

Shamit Gaiger has been appointed as Managing Director West Coast Partnership Development. She leaves AECOM where she has been leading the Advisory practice for AECOM Europe.


Rachel O’Donnell has been named as Mace Consult’s Retrofit Director, who will work with the business sector and practice groups to address the climate emergency as well as the building safety crisis. O’Donnell joins from AECOM where she has most recently been Director, Strategy and Growth, Environment Europe.

Darren Coleman also joins the business as an Operations Director. He leaves Bechtel where he has been for the past 5 years, most recently as Delivery Director working on the Crossrail contract.


Leila Frances stands down as President Middle East and Hyderabad and Chair of KeolisDowner and takes up a Non-Executive Director position.

Urenco Global

Former Amey Group HR Director, Ian Deninson has joined as Chief People and Culture Officer on an Interim basis. Deninson is also Chair of the Board for Investors in People.


Have made several new additions to their teams. Paul Long has been appointed as Head of Professional Engineering Services, Rolling Stock. He joins from Loram where he has most recently been Technical Director.

Stuart Hodgkinson joins as Head of Terminal Engineering, leaving Amazon.

Paul Ryan joins as Production Director. Ryan joins from Siemens where he has been since 2005, most recently as Fleet Delivery Manager.

Turner & Townsend

Have appointed James Hardy as a Director in its UK Advisory team to grow its sustainability offer. Hardy was previously Head of Climate Change and Energy at the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Hitachi Rail

Justin Southcombe has joined as Commercial Director. He leaves  Perpetuum where he has been since 2014.

Taylor Wimpey

Have appointed former Mace Operations boss Mark Castle as Non-Executive Director in the wake of the departure of Pete Redfern. Castle remains a Non-Exec at Mace.

SNC Lavalin

George Mackintosh has been appointed as Technical Director. He leaves Network Rail where he has been Head of Planning and Performance for the Anglia Route since 2020.

Looking to make any changes to your senior teams? Get in touch to find out how an executive search will find you the best talent.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

UK Major Projects Pipeline Update – May 2022

Somehow it has been 6 months since we last looked at where the UK’s major projects pipeline is and what new developments there have been.

All projects across Transport & Infrastructure have seen progress and changes since last November, take a look at the major updates…



Last November the government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) had just been announced and the East and West routes were finally established.

Since then, there have been a number of updates on the project:

  • A second major site next to Piccadilly Train station has been bought by HS2 to facilitate the stations expansion. The Square One site currently contains offices for Network Rail.
  • Main Works Contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, SCS JV, have advanced in their work at the Victoria Road Site in Acton, completing the base slab construction of the Victoria Road ancillary shaft.
  • The start of tunnelling in London is set to begin later this year on the Northolt Tunnel. SCS JV have received delivery of two giant Earth Pressure Balance Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) to the HS2 site in West Ruislip.
  • The TBM’s excavating HS2’s longest tunnels have completed the first stage of their drive – from the Chiltern tunnel’s south portal to the first ventilation shaft at Chalfont St Peter.
  • New updated designs for Euston station were published in March. They have been drawn up by a design consortium made up of Arup, WSP, Grimshaw Architects, Haptic and LDA Design, working into HS2’s Station Construction Partner, Mace Dragados JV (MDJV).
  • MDJV have also begun procurement for their Tier 2 contractors. They are offering packages worth over £500 million to help deliver Euston station.
  • Vinci Construction UK has been appointed as design and build contractor for two new multi-storey car parks near Solihull in the West Midlands.
  • TK Elevator has been awarded the framework to deliver around 300 state-of-the-art lifts and escalators for the four major new stations being built. The final value expected to be worth between £207m and £316m.
  • Hitachi/Alstom JV has been awarded the contracts to build the high-speed trains at their factories in Derby and County Durham. The contracts, worth around £2bn, will see the JV design, build and maintain a fleet of 54 state-of-the-art high speed trains that will operate on HS2 – the new high-speed railway being built between London, the West Midlands and Crewe.

TfL Elephant and Castle Station Capacity Upgrade

TfL is inviting construction companies to apply for work on the upgrade of the Elephant & Castle tube station, which will involve a new station entrance for the Northern line, with provision for the Bakerloo line in the future.

Transpennine Route Upgrade

West of Leeds –

TRUw is split into 5 sections (W1, W2, W3, W4, W5), the largest of these being W3; Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury).

The W1 section is in construction at the moment, with W3 finishing GRIP4 heading in to GRIP5. The key thing for W3 is to secure a transport works act order (TWA) which they are hoping to get in December. This will give them the right to compulsory purchase land so that W3 can go into construction next year.

East of Leeds –

Works are ongoing with the Alliance between Network Rail, VolkerRail, J. Murphy and Sons and Siemens.

Over Christmas they completed the biggest track upgrade at Leeds station in 20 years, with the track layout between platforms 4 and 6 successfully remodelled. More than 1,500m of new electric wires were installed and more than 200m of track were replaced. Furthermore, platform 7 was extended to allow longer trains to serve the platform.

Crossrail 1

The Elizabeth Line will open on 24th May 2022, running 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 06:30 to 23:00. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.

Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station.

There is also a significant amount of rebranding being undertaken as all lines currently operating as TfL Rail between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street will switch to the Elizabeth Line.

East West Rail

It has been confirmed that East West Rail Co. will operate independently from Network Rail meaning they are the developer and operator of the line.

Beth West was appointed as CEO taking over from Simon Blanchflower and a series of public events have been organised to help alleviate concerns over the route in Bedford.

Network Rail CP7

Wales and Western Region –

Network Rail have announced a package of c£2bn contract opportunities for construction contractors. The framework will cover the majority of the buildings and civils work, including structures, geotechnical off-track & drainage and stations & buildings. It is divided into five lots.

Eastern Region –

The Renewals and Minor Enhancements contract notice was published in April. The frameworks include civil engineering and construction work on railway structures, geotechnics and buildings; signalling and telecoms; and electrification and power and is worth £4bn in total.



Severn Trent –

Seven Trent and its north and mid-Wales water company Hafren Dyfrdwy plan to spend £2.5bn during the remaining AMP7 period, and are seeking delivery partners for civils, M&E, green solutions and pipelines with an increased emphasis on digital and innovation.

Anglian Water –

Anglian Water has unveiled plans for its largest ever single-year investment for the third year of AMP7, which will see the company spend £680m.

Thames Tideway

Tunnelling officially ended on 29th April after four years. The Tideway project is due to be complete in 2025, following secondary lining, connection and testing works.


Lower Thames Crossing

Another consultation has been launched which focuses on the changes made based on a previous consultation in 2021.

Once the feedback is gathered by National Highways, it will submit a revised Development Consent Order application later this year.

Contractors competing to win the tunnelling package have received the Invitation to Participate in Dialogue (ITPD) stage of procurement, which will ultimately decide how the tunnel is delivered and by who.

The three teams shortlisted for the tunnelling job will now begin drawing up plans on how to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from the construction process. A winning bidder is expected to be announced next summer, with construction earmarked to begin in 2024.

The three shortlisted bidders are:

  • BFV JV; comprising BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and Vinci Construction Grands Projets
  • Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV); comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons
  • Dragados-Hochtief Joint Venture (DH JV); comprising Dragados and Hochtief Infrastructure

A303 Stonehenge Tunnel

In February National Highways published fresh information, including new environmental documents outlining its plans to develop the Stonehenge tunnel on the A303.

The updated plans that have been submitted include new environmental documents, after the High Court overturned the planning permission on environmental grounds in July 2021.


Hinkley Point C

EDF have warned of further delays on the project, which could result in the life of Hinkley Point B being extended for a further 18 months.

In March a 347-tonne liner steel ring was lifted onto the Unit 1 reactor building. The building now stands at more than 32 metres tall, changing the skyline at the site.

Sizewell C

Sizewell C is definitely “still on the agenda” according to Boris Johnson, there is just still the issue around who will fund the project which will be part publicly funded and part funded by international investors.

A decision on the project was delayed by 6 weeks to 8th July, following BEIS seeking additional information on a number of issues in the plans from EDF – including transport, water and wildlife.


The government has stepped up its commitment to new nuclear in Britain in response to the energy price and security crisis. The Wylfa site is tipped to be part of that with UK and Welsh governments supportive and talks ongoing with US energy and engineering firms Westinghouse and Bechtel as well as the potential for Small Modular Reactors.

Offshore Wind

The Crown Estate has completed its work on the Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 – which has the potential to deliver up to 8GW of vital new offshore wind capacity (enough to power up to 7 million more homes).

As a result, they have given notice to the UK and Welsh Governments of its intent to proceed with the Round 4 plan on the basis of a ‘derogation’. The notice confirms the intention to progress all six of the offshore wind projects:

  • RWE Renewables – two sites at Dogger Bank each with the potential to produce 1500 MW.
  • Green Investment Group / Total – a site off the Lincolnshire Coast supporting 1500 MW.
  • Consortium of EnBW and BP – two sites in Northern Wales & Irish Sea both with the potential to produce 1500 MW.
  • Offshore Wind Limited, a Joint Venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. and Flotation Energy plc – Small site off Lincolnshire Coast which could host 480 MW of offshore wind.

Coire Glas

SSE Renewables have selected STRABAG UK to undertake exploratory works for the planned pumped hydro storage scheme at Coire Glas, on the shores of Loch Lochy.

In February, six groups were invited to submit tenders for construction:

Civil engineering –

  • Bechtel Ltd., Acciona Construcción S.A. and Webuild S.p.A consortium
  • BAM Nuttall Ltd, Eiffage Génie Civil SA and Marti Tunnel AG consortium
  • Dragados S.A and BeMo Tunnelling UK Ltd consortium
  • Strabag UK Ltd


  • Andritz Hydro GmbH and Voith Hydro GmbH & Co KG partnership
  • GE Hydro France

The tendering process will consist of two stages ahead of a final decision on whether to proceed with construction of the scheme in late 2023



As passenger numbers continue to recover back towards pre-pandemic levels Gatwick Airport have taken steps to ramp up their Capital Delivery programme again. This includes the Pier 6 Western Extension Project, and the proposed International Departure Lounge (IDL) Extension Projects.


Heathrow plan  to review their plans for Expansion over the course of this year and Heathrow continue to purchase houses close to the proposed Expansion site. With demand starting to recover they also plan to reopen Terminal 4 for the summer.

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

In March the government published a new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, confirming £1.6bn of public funding for charging points. Additionally, BP is announcing a £1bn investment in rapid charging stations.

Shell has also announced plans to install 100,000 public electric car charging points by 2030. It will ensure that 90% of drivers would be within a 10-minute drive of a Shell rapid charger by the end of the decade.

You can find out more about how we could help you recruit senior leaders for your major projects teams by booking in a quick call with me to discuss your needs and plans.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

3 lessons learnt from Crossrail for future Major Projects

A day 20 years in the making.

24th May 2022, Crossrail will finally open its sliding doors to the public.

My relationship with Crossrail goes right back to the early days in 2001 when Crossrail was a smallish team based at Butler Place above an old branch of Lloyds Bank.

Many talented individuals have contributed to Crossrail, a mega project like no other we have seen in the UK before. Of course, it is well documented that the project has not been without many major challenges.

What we can see though, is that future major projects are keen to learn from Crossrail, and best practices and approaches are already being adopted on projects such as HS2 and others.

So, what are the main takeaways now that the project is finally drawing to a close?

1. Systems Engineering should be equal to Civil Engineering

Historically, major projects are often planned and led from the outset by civil engineers. Which to an extent makes sense. Digging the tunnel comes potentially 15 years before the systems integration takes place.

But Crossrail is not something that should have been viewed from a historical standpoint. It is the UK’s first-in-kind, fully digitised railway. It involves an unprecedented amount of highly complex systems integration. It operates across three different signalling systems alone!

Having substantial systems engineering representation on the project board from the get-go is critical to getting a balanced view of how the project is progressing and what is realistically achievable.

Hopefully, we see a lot more engineering and project diversity taking on the helm of major projects going forward as the technology becomes increasingly more complex.

2. Integration

Integration and collaboration are already on the rise across the transport & infrastructure sectors with more and more project teams establishing one central organisation integrating the client, programme delivery partners, contractors and designers.

This is a major lesson that Crossrail learnt and adapted to as they went. Originally, Crossrail Limited was established as the delivery organisation. They then appointed Transcend (a JV of CH2M and Nichols) as the Programme Partner and then a further Project Delivery Partner (Bechtel supported by Halcrow and Systra) to drive delivery of the central section.

All of these separate teams had their own management structures and reporting lines making the overall Crossrail structure extremely complex.

In 2011 they integrated these teams which saw all three organisations combined as one structure. This reduced overlaps and duplications.

This level of integration is the fundamental principles to Project 13 which is gaining more and more traction across the sector.

In our experience, while integrated project teams don’t come without their own challenges, people who work in integrated teams often have a more positive experience as an employee and enjoy the collaborative culture.

3. An overhaul of power

A recent ICE review of major project delivery looked at what we can learn from five projects at various stages of delivery including; Crossrail, Tideway, East West Rail, British Antarctic Survey’s Infrastructure Modernisation Programme and Anglian Water’s Strategic Pipeline Alliance.

One of their main recommendations was that a traditional style of leadership is no longer fit for purpose for modern infrastructure projects. They argue that having one key figure or “hero” leading a project on this scale or complexity simply won’t cut it.

Instead, organisations should “spread authority and empower highly competent individuals to take the key decisions in their areas of a project”.

Not only this, but ICE argues that to maximise success and efficiency projects should pass on the leadership baton at critical stages in the project to ensure that you are always operating with the right team at the right time.

Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing, so it is all well and good to look back at where Crossrail went wrong and cast aspersions. What is important is that the transport and infrastructure sectors uses the lessons learnt from other major projects and apply recommendations from people who have been in the thick of it, to future projects.

Have you seen any other trends in major projects as a result of Crossrail? I’d be really interested to hear your experiences in the market so please do drop me an email.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Movers and Shakers in Transport & Infrastructure – The Headlines from April 2022

The start of a new financial year for many usually signals a flurry of recruitment activity. We have certainly been very busy this month with clients bolstering their executive teams.

Check out the latest Movers and Shakers across Transport & Infrastructure…

Govia Thameslink Railway

Angie Doll has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer. She has held the role of Interim COO for GTR for the past six months. Prior to that Doll was Managing Director for Southern Rail and Gatwick Express.

BAM Nuttall

Alan Cox has moved internally to take up the position of Managing Director – Regions. Huw Jones is succeeding him as Managing Director for Transport. Jones was appointed Director for BAM Nuttall’s Rail sector in 2016.

Mark Sheridan has moved internally to become Commercial Director – New Ventures for UK&I. He has most recently been Business Improvement Director for BAM Nuttall.


Andy Leeds returns to AmcoGiffen as Work Winning Director. He leaves Amey where he has been Head of Work Winning for the Rail sector.

MTR Corporation

Graham Cross has left SLC Investments to become Commercial Director for MTR Corporation to expand their rail remit in the UK.


Have announced the appointment of Kamal Patel, Currently Head of Corporate Finance and Real Estate at DfT, as a Partner who will join in July and advising clients in the transport sector.

This follows the appointment of Neil Hart earlier this year, who joined as  Director – Corporate Finance – Strategy and Transactions in Transport and Government sectors.


Have appointed Crawford Burden as its Managing Director, Global Aviation, Europe and India. He leaves Arcadis where he has most recently been Director, Transport Investment Advisory Lead (EMU).

Aggregate Industries UK

Thomas Edgcumbe joins as Managing Director (Surfacing Solutions). He leaves Balfour Beatty UKCS where he has most recently been Managing Director (Regional England and Wales.)

Avanti West Coast

Mike Greenup joins as Marketing Director. Greenup was previously Chief Marketing Officer for The Collective and previously VP Brand & Marketing Communications EMEAA at IHG Hotels.


Dave Diskin has joined as Managing Director – Telecoms. Diskin leaves Ferrovial where he has been Rail Operations Director for the last 2 years.


Have announced that Fiona Cousins has been appointed Chair of the Americas Region and Nigel Nicholls has been named Chief Operating Officer of the Americas Region.

Cousins most recently led the climate services and sustainability teams for Arup in the Americas. Nicholls has spent the last 10 years as Managing Director of Arup’s New York office


Have appointed James Butler as Managing Director succeeding Jon Sealy who moves into a new global position to drive growth in project and programme management for SNC-Lavalin. Butler joined Faithful+Gould as a graduate in 2007 and has progressed through the company in a number of roles – most recently as UK Business Development Director.


Have announced the appointment of Wendy Smith as HR and Safety Director. She joins from HS2, where she was Head of HR.

Active Building Centre

Daniel Cook has been appointed as Chief Executive. He was previously CEO at the Landscape Institute.

National Infrastructure Commission

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the appointment of three new experts to the National Infrastructure Commission. Nicholas WinserKate Willard and Jim Hall will strengthen infrastructure, energy and environment expertise as new commissioners at the NIC.

Alongside the new appointments, Neale Coleman, Julia Prescot, and Andy Green have been reappointed as Commissioners for further five-year terms.

East West Railway Company

Beth West has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with effect from 1st April 2022. She succeeds Simon Blanchflower who will be retired on 31st March. West joins after a period of consulting, having previously been the Regional South Managing Director at Balfour Beatty UKCS.


Have appointed Holly Price to the newly created role of Group Sustainability Director. Price, who is currently Skills and Communities Director, will report to main board director and Chief Operating Officer, Vince Corrigan.

Parsons Corporation

Matthew Botelle has joined as Vice President, PMC Practice Lead (Middle East & Africa). He leaves HS2 where he has been Stations Client Director since 2015.


Have announced the appointment of Richard Green, who will take on the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer of its Consult business. Prior to joining Mace, Green was the Managing Director of the Corporate Centre of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

They have also named Sarah Morton as Director for the North and Lucy Namihas as Director for the South-West region.

Morton joined Mace’s consultancy business last year and led the Managed Frameworks team. Namihas has been leading teams in the south-west and Wales since 2019, when she first joined Mace as Operations Director.

Kelly Group

David Green has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer. He leaves Kier where he has most recently been Managing Director for Telecommunications.


Loraine Martins OBE has joined as Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion. Martins leaves Network Rail where she has been Director of Diversity and Inclusion since 2012.

Network Rail Consulting

Susie Homan has joined as Operations Director based in Australia. She leaves the Rail Delivery Group where she was Director Planning Engineering and Operations.

Renew Holdings

Rob Phillips, Energy Sector Director at Costain, leaves the business after 25 years to join Renew as their new Infrastructure Director. He will take up his new position later this month.

The Go-Ahead Group

Have appointed Martin Dean to become Managing Director, UK Regional Bus, with responsibility for all its bus companies in the UK outside London. Dean was previously Managing Director – Business Development for Go-Ahead.


Gavin Stonard has joined as Technical Development Director – Water. Stonard leaves Galliford Try where he has been Managing Director – Technical Services for Water.

Southeastern Railway

Steve Foster joins as People Director. He leaves Network Rail where he has been Employee Relations Director since 2019.

Adaptogen Capital

Richard Whitmore joins as Director – Asset Investment. He leaves  Ørsted where he was most recently Senior Lead Business Developer – Energy Storage.


Vistry Group’s Chief Operating Officer is moving to fellow housebuilder Gleeson as Chief Executive. Graham Prothero will not take up his new role until January 2023.

Vistry has said it will not be appointing a replacement for Prothero. Instead, from October, the executive leadership team will distribute his responsibilities among its members.


The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) has announced Ann Carruthers as the first female Chair of its transport and connectivity board. Carruthers, Director of Environment and Transport at Leicestershire County Council, took over from Mark Kemp.

Looking to make any changes or additions to your teams this month. Drop me an email to discuss how partnering with Newsom Consulting could help you out.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director

Executive Search vs Recruitment Agencies – what’s the difference?

According to the latest data, the UK recruitment sector contributes £35.9bn to the UK economy.

Of that, in 2022, only £1.7bn is from executive search services.

What’s the difference between an executive search firm and a recruitment agency?

This is a question we are often asked when discussing our services with potential clients who haven’t used a retained executive search firm before.

Many people have worked with recruitment agencies in the past and know that a recruitment agency does not have the skillset to fill a tricky senior management vacancy and are exploring what an exec search firm can offer.

But despite the fact that executive search makes up just 5% of the UK recruitment market, executive search and contingent recruiting are often labelled as the same thing, when in reality, they are two entirely different services.

Contingent recruitment agencies are hired to present a list of active job seeking applicants to their clients. At any one time, only 5% of the potential candidate pool for executive roles are actively looking.

That leaves 95% of the market that are not being targeted by using a Recruitment Consultant.

That’s where Executive Search consultants come in.

An Executive Search involves extensively mapping out the market according to a detailed client brief and uncovering every single potential person that fits that brief – whether they are actively looking or not.

From there, our consultants reach out to these potential candidates by a variety of methods until we discover if they are suitable for the role and if they would be interested. Our teams will use every method at their disposal and have an 91% response rate from the potential candidates they are approaching.

We assess candidates via our own internal interview process, personality profiling if you require it, and measure against key competencies so that you are presented with a simple, yet comprehensive shortlist report. Usually made up of 5 or 6 candidates who we recommend for interview.

So when is the right time for you to engage an executive search firm?

1. Seniority

Executive search is most commonly used for senior executive roles, as most firms do not have the internal resources to recruit senior positions outside their network. An executive search firm with relationships across the industry will have the ability to reach out to the very best talent in the market.

2. Particularly difficult roles

Roles that require a very specific skillset can be problematic to fill. Even the most experienced hiring managers with extensive networks can struggle to fill niche vacancies. Occasionally you just won’t have the right contacts in the marketplace to extensively search for high-level talent.

3. Confidentiality

If you are replacing a key director and don’t want word to get out, you need to be extremely sensitive when approaching candidates.

In this case it can be beneficial to distance yourself from the search by using a third party.

Executive search firms can access candidates without revealing any sensitive company information. On many occasions we have asked candidates to sign non-disclosure agreements before imparting any information about the client. In some rare cases, we have conducted an entire search without discussing the company name at all until the candidates were chosen for interview.

4. Targeting competitors

The transport and infrastructure industries are pretty tight knit and the chances are when you are searching for the best talent, you will be looking to recruit from your competitors.

Receiving an application for a role from someone at your number one competitor is one thing, but actively poaching them can create friction. Especially if the person you targeted isn’t interested in making a move.

Having an intermediary to make the approaches removes this sensitivity.

5. Urgent timescales

Conducting a search for high-level positions is very time consuming. If you want to find the best person for the job then a thorough search needs to be conducted and it needs to be done well. While your internal recruiting or HR function may be pressed with various priorities, your executive search partner has been retained to fill a specific role within timescales agreed by you.

For many roles, your in-house recruitment team or contingent recruitment agencies are more than capable of sourcing candidates. Occasionally, you may find you have a key senior executive position that requires a more in-depth approach and someone who can go the extra mile to fill it.

You can find out more about our services here.

If you would like to find out more information or if you would be interested in taking a look at our e-brochure, please do get in touch and I will send you over a tailored information pack for your business.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director