Wood Group boss Robin Watson to retire after enduring tough year


Wood Group boss Robin Watson to retire from FTSE 250-listed firm following tough year for engineering giant

  • Robin Watson is retiring from FTSE 250-listed Wood Group
  • Wood Group saw like-for-like revenue drop 14% in the past year  

Wood Group boss Robin Watson is to retire from the engineering and consulting group, following a tough trading year.  

FTSE 250-listed Wood Group has seen like-for-like revenue drop 14 per cent in the past year, with growth in consulting and operations offset by a hefty decline in money from its projects arm.

Watson was appointed chief executive of the Aberdeen-based group in January 2016, having previously joined the board in January 2013 as boss of Wood’s PSN division. He will remain on the board until his replacement is found. 

Stepping down: Robin Watson is stepping down as the boss of Wood Group

Adjusted EBITDA slipped 10 per cent on a like-for-like basis in 2021, with improved consulting earnings offset by a fall within Wood Group’s projects and operations divisions.

However, the group’s bottom line loss narrowed from $338million to $136million over the past year, while its net debt stood at $1.4billion by 31 December 2021.

Watson said: ‘2021 was a challenging year for the Group, with the ongoing pressures of the pandemic, mixed market conditions across our businesses and continued challenges in Projects impacting our performance. 

‘Despite this, we ended the year with positive momentum and a growing order book (up 19 per cent on last year) which gives us confidence that activity levels will be higher in 2022.

‘We are now focused on the future for Wood beyond this sale – to ensure we can fully capitalise on our deep engineering knowledge and expertise to capture the growth opportunities ahead across both energy security and sustainability, as we help clients move towards net zero.

‘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 on the Board until my successor is in place and I remain fully committed to our business delivery and enabling a smooth transition.’

Roy Franklin, chairman, added: ‘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.’ 

Wood Group shares fell sharply in early morning trading before recovering some ground. They were down 0.2 per cent to 192.05p by 8.45am. 

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