Wood CEO to retire; order book up 19% to $7.7bn

Robin Watson

Aberdeen-based engineering giant John Wood Group plc announced that Robin Watson intends to retire as chief executive.

“The process to appoint his successor will now commence and Robin will remain in his role until the successful candidate is in place,” said Wood.

The news came as Wood reported 2021 results that showed revenue fell 15.4% to $6.4 billion and operating profit before exceptional items fell 10.3% to $192 million.

However, Wood’s order book rose 19% year-on-year to $7.7 billion.

Net debt excluding leases rose 37.4% to $1.393 billion.

“Given the current level of debt, the board has decided not to declare dividends in relation to the 2021 financial year,” said Wood.

“The board recognises the importance of dividends to shareholders and is committed to reviewing the policy in the future following the proposed sale of our Built Environment business.”

Watson was appointed CEO in January 2016, having previously joined the board in January 2013 as CEO of Wood’s PSN division.

He also served as chief operating officer.

“Under Robin’s leadership, the company has transformed into a leader in consulting and engineering across the global energy market,” said Wood.

Watson said: “2022 marks my tenth year on the Wood board and my seventh as chief executive.

“When I think back to the business I joined, it was largely focused on the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico and was almost entirely an upstream oilfield services business.

“I reflect with pride on the business we have now and the opportunities we continue to unlock in some very exciting and relevant energy markets: carbon capture, hydrogen, bio-refining, minerals processing, solar and wind energy – all alongside our well-established conventional energy business, helping our clients on their own transition journeys.

“As such, I have shared with the board that I consider the sale of our Built Environment business as marking the start of the next strategic phase for Wood and an appropriate time for me to step down as chief executive.

“I look forward to continuing to serve as chief executive and on the board until my successor is in place and I remain fully committed to our business delivery and to enabling a smooth transition.”

Wood chairman Roy Franklin said: “On behalf of the board, I thank Robin for his years of service to the company.

“Under his leadership, Wood has transformed into a global consulting and engineering business that operates across a wide range of energy and industrial markets worldwide.

“Robin has built a strong leadership team around him and a solid portfolio that provides us great opportunities as we look ahead.

 “A search process is now underway, with both internal and external candidates, and we are confident a smooth transition will follow later this year.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.