John Neilson appointed CEO of Sopra Steria UK and Asia

15 July 2020 2 min. read
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Sopra Steria has announced the appointment of John Neilson as CEO of Sopra Steria UK and Asia. Neilson replaces John Torrie, who held the role for 18 years.

Sopra Steria is a European information technology consultancy which was established in September 2014 with the merger of Sopra Group SA and Groupe Steria SCA. The primary business areas of the company include consulting services, systems integration and solutions, integration of ERP solutions, and implementation of application solutions.

The IT specialist firm has been performing strongly on a global level, but has been wrestling with a major restructuring programme in the UK. This was something which last year caused operating profits in Britain to fall by 52%, while revenues contracted by 1% to €783.1 million. While the figures seemed bleak, however, the consultancy asserted that it was on track for its long-term recovery plan – aiming for organic revenue growth of 4-6% for full-year 2019.

John Neilson, Chief executive UK and Asia, Sopra Steria

Sopra Steria’s UK arm was still hampered by an unpropitious business environment, particularly in the fourth quarter of 2019, revenue came to €771.5 million (17% of its group revenue). However, since June 2019, it no longer included its recruitment business, which contributed €129.2 million in revenue in 2018, in its revenues – and excluding this impact and fluctuations in the British pound, Sopra Steria reported that its UK revenue growth was actually 7.3% – in excess of its target the year before.

That report was just before the global lockdown resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic – a colossal new challenge which threatens the prosperity of the consulting industry as a whole. As Sopra Steria prepares for another key period in its recent history, former Chief Executive of Sopra Steria UK and Asia, John Torrie, decided to step back from operational responsibility in the UK with effect from the start of July 2020.

Following 18 years in the role, and having helped oversee the aforementioned restructuring programme, he moved into a non-executive role of Chairman of Sopra Steria UK and Asia. Torrie will also remain Deputy Chief Executive of Sopra Steria Group alongside Vincent Paris, CEO of Sopra Steria Group.

His successor has been named as John Neilson, who takes over as CEO of Sopra Steria UK and Asia, and has also joined the firm’s Group Executive Committee. Neilson has been with Sopra Steria since 2001 and has most recently held the role of Deputy Chief Executive of Sopra Steria UK and Head of Public Sector. During his time in that role, Neilson also worked as Managing Director of a joint venture business across the NHS, and CEO of two joint venture companies providing back office shared services to the public sector.

Earlier in the summer, Sopra Steria and Iron Mountain partnered to deliver a new digital HM Passport Office service. The digital transformation project will help to deliver more efficient public services for the millions of UK passport applications made every year.