Heathrow recruits KPMG Director to help with expansion

23 November 2018 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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As Heathrow Airport prepares for a £14 billion expansion plan, Emma-Jane Houghton has been appointed to head up its procurement procedures from February 2019. Houghton is currently a Director at KPMG UK, where she has overseen the group’s Infrastructure Advisory practice for the past four years.

As the aviation sector prepares to come under sustained pressure from rising consumer demand, heightened competition, and the need to expand and improve commercial airline fleets to meet with growing environmental concerns, many airports are bracing themselves for a period of complex evolution. There are few better examples of this coming era of change than Heathrow Airport.

Heathrow, a major international airport in London, is the second busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic, the busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and the seventh busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic. Following a tense period of debate, where a prospective third runway was pilloried by local residents and environmentalists for its potential impacts on both climate change and noise pollution, Heathrow is now on the cusp of embarking on a multi-billion expansion plan.

Heathrow recruits KPMG Director to help with expansion

As Heathrow prepares to implement the £14 billion scheme, it has appointed KPMG Director Emma-Jane Houghton as its head of procurement, contracts and costs. The sheer scale of the project makes her one of the construction industry’s most powerful clients, especially as the sector bids to recover from a slump in revenues over the past year. One of Houghton’s initial tasks at Heathrow when she takes up her position in 2019 will be shortlisting the Heathrow Innovation Partners, inviting companies to pitch their ideas that will help the airport deliver expansion more sustainably, affordably and for the benefit of passengers.

Houghton is a highly experienced infrastructure specialist, with a strong executive advisor background in major infrastructure projects. She has first-hand experience covering the breadth of the construction supply chain in the client, consultant, main contractor, and subcontractor arenas. She specialises in, and has published research on, the NEC3 suite of contracts advising industry on the bespoke use of this widespread standard form.

She has developed more than a decade’s worth of consulting experience across the transportation, power, utilities and water sectors. She has been Director of KPMG’s Infrastructure Advisory Group since January 2014. Prior to this, the chartered quantity surveyor by profession was previously an employee at at Turner & Townsend and before that at Mott MacDonald, spending eight years with the construction consultancy. Key projects she has advised on throughout her career include Heathrow Terminal 5, the East London Line Extension and the London 2012 Olympics.

Commenting on her new challenge, Emma-Jane Houghton said, “Heathrow expansion is a once in a lifetime opportunity to revolutionise the UK’s infrastructure and construction sectors and I’m excited to be a part of it. I have spent the past 15 years developing my expertise in how the best client, consultant and contractor relationships work and I look forward to joining expert teams to create a world class expanded airport. Having started my career at Terminal 5 I am delighted to be returning to Heathrow.

Heathrow Expansion Programme Director Phil Wilbraham added, “We’re delighted to have Emma-Jane joining our team. Her wealth of knowledge and expertise will be essential as we near a crucial point in our expansion delivery and finalise our masterplan that will be up for public consultation next year.”