My early retirement from Siemens
Decisions to leave great companies and teams of people are not easy and after 33 years of working at Siemens, this was indeed one of those very tough decisions for me.
The reason to retire now is purely a matter of life balance. Whilst I have always thrived on the hard work and adrenaline that comes with my job, I also know that the body needs a little rest at times. So, early retirement feels right at this point, to re-charge my energy to then take on some exciting new opportunities to support UK industry. I suspect that won’t take me too long!
I will look back with great pleasure on so much our Siemens UK team has achieved and can be incredibly proud of. Apart from our technical achievements, which are far too many to mention here, what has always made me incredibly proud is our people and how we achieve our success. With great engineering expertise, with responsibility and through teamwork that embraces the strengths of our organisation from all corners of the globe. And when we do get it wrong, which of course happens and sometimes did, we always handled that responsibly too.
We also took our responsibility for society seriously; it has been a pleasure to support numerous educational initiatives, to help provide technical education and foundation to great futures for a next generation. For the arts, our long-term partnership with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester has been an inspiration way beyond their amazing classical music.
I have been proud to help promote our diversity and inclusion agenda. Our incredible women – and other members of under-represented groups – now tell us they feel much more empowered and with difference being celebrated as a path to better innovation and outcomes. Our LGBT+ community, whilst small, is now visible, proud and more comfortable bringing their whole self to work. We also learnt to better support work life balance and to see mental health issues as something that happens to quite a lot of us, just like physical health issues do and that they need to be openly talked about and supported rather than seen as a weakness.
One of the key learnings from my many leadership roles at Siemens has been how much these ‘softer’ and more cultural issues means to our people and how much it lifts the working atmosphere, positive engagement and performance. This is even more so in these current times when too many politicians and figures in public life don’t lead with integrity and openly display discrimination and bigotry. I’m proud that at Siemens we have zero tolerance for such behaviours.
I thank Siemens and all the people and teams I have had the pleasure of working with for providing so many, often quite unbelievable and rich experiences that have made life at Siemens a privilege and have had a massive influence on the values with which I live my life.
I’m in post until the end of this year and there is still plenty to do. I am delighted that my successor will be Carl Ennis, who has been a good colleague of mine for 20 years and I know that he will do a tremendous job of leading our company. You can read Carl’s profile here. He is an incredibly passionate and authentic leader with many years experience in our industry in the UK and internationally. My warmest congratulations to Carl on this appointment.
I’m a strong believer in our leadership roles being transitional and we do them with passion, but time limited and with the aim of helping create value and ensuring we pass the part of the organisation we are privileged to lead for a while onto our successors in better shape than we inherited them. The time feels right for the next generation to take on that baton and they will do a fabulous job. Our talents are so great that I know Siemens UK and Ireland will flourish under Carl’s leadership and with the enormous global strength of Siemens behind it.
And finally, if you will allow me, you won’t have got rid of me from our UK Engineering and Manufacturing community just yet. I remain incredibly passionate to support our industry and whilst we know that the current political climate is incredibly challenging, that just makes me even more determined to fight for our Industry’s future.
In that capacity, I intend to continue to drive and support our national Made Smarter initiative and serve as Chairman of the Digital Catapult. I also plan to continue my service as a member of the Governing Board at Nottingham Trent University, which helped turn me from a naive teenager into a proud engineer many years ago! I will also enjoy my relationships with several other superb UK Universities and Engineering institutions that have been kind to recognise our partnership.
I am also keen to help support and promote responsible capitalism with a strong social purpose and leadership that is authentic, bold and at the same time humble. There will no doubt be one or two other exciting roles that hopefully help bring influence for a stronger tech, manufacturing and engineering sector especially in our Northern Powerhouse regions. I’m very much looking forward to staying in touch and working with many of you that share a similar purpose.