Mott MacDonald completes leadership reshuffle

11 July 2019 3 min. read
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Following the retirement of incumbent Chair Keith Howells, Mott MacDonald has completed a rejig of its leadership team to name Mike Haigh as his successor. Appointed Group Managing Director at the firm in 2017, Haigh is a vocal advocate for technical excellence and digital technology. He is succeeded in his previous role by James Harris.

Established in 1989 with the merger of Mott, Hay and Anderson with Sir M MacDonald & Partners, Mott MacDonald Group now employs 16,000 staff in 150 countries. The UK-headquartered consultancy has 30 offices in its home nation, and is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the country.

The firm is in a period of transition at present, with a number of senior promotions currently taking place among its leadership team. Earlier in the year, Keith Howells, the long-serving Group Chair of Mott MacDonald, announced his retirement for July 2019, following 45 years with the engineering firm. The news triggered a reshuffle of the firm’s wider leadership roles.Keith Howells, Mike Haigh, James Harris - Mott MacDonald

Mike Haigh, who has been Group Managing Director at Mott MacDonald for the last two years, has been selected to take on the position of Chair from Howells. The news sees Haigh take the reins after an almost 38-year career with the firm. During that time, Haigh has also formerly been Mott MacDonald’s Regional Managing Director for the UK, Europe and Africa, as well as a Board Director of Mott MacDonald Bentley, a design and build joint-venture operating in the water sector.

Paying tribute to Howells, who spent 14 years as Managing Director and then Chair, Haigh said, “Keith has been an inspirational leader and not only for our 16,000 colleagues. Over the years he’s championed and helped drive better practices across the engineering profession, especially in safety, ethics and equality.”

With a background in the general management of large infrastructure projects, Haigh holds wide experience in the management, planning and implementation of infrastructure projects in the UK and internationally, with particular expertise in water. According to a release from Mott MacDonald, Haigh is a vocal advocate for technical excellence and digital technology, and is also a proponent of employee ownership and the creative, innovative and economics benefits such a structure offers.

With his promotion, his previous role similarly has become available. That position will be filled by James Harris, previously responsible for Mott MacDonald’s operations in the UK and Europe. Harris also joined Mott MacDonald as a graduate, and has played a central role in its business strategy in recent years.

Speaking on the future of the consultancy, Harris said, “We’ve evolved greatly as an organisation, not only in the people we work alongside but also in the roles we recruit for. The digitisation of our work means we’re now often recruiting for data scientists, software architects and information consultants, which perhaps did not exist in our industry eight years ago.”