He brings with him more than 30 years of experience (both as a consultant and CEO) in strategy, transactions, commercial and operational transformation, and operating model design. As CEO, Neil led the development and transformation of Arcadis N.V. from a local engineering company to becoming the fourth largest pure-play engineering design & consultancy for natural and built assets.
The challenge clients face—and the opportunity that lies before them—is to spend sufficient time thinking ahead on the future strategy while running the current business and delivering the quarterly and annual business results.
He views the role of his team to help transform clients’ businesses, a process that can range from a strategic redirection (such as organic growth strategy, portfolio strategy, and M&A), to capability building to access new opportunities, to restructuring and cost out to deal with changed market conditions. “I was fortunate to lead a strategic transformation that led to an increased focus on sustainability and a repositioning of a company’s brand promise to improving quality of life,” says Neil. “The effort resulted in strong emotional bonding with our people that went far beyond the business results of the strategy implementation.”
Cost leadership is an often overlooked lever in strategic transformations – cutting costs helps companies grow stronger: capital released from cost out initiatives can be redeployed for growth by investing in organic growth opportunities, building new capabilities or M&A.
The key challenge faced by clients is the unrelenting pressure of time: thinking and strategizing past the quarter for the long term. “Few companies spend sufficient time and effort looking ahead for those trends that will impact their business (such as technology, competitor moves, and shifting regulations) and identifying unmet customer needs,” says Neil.
In addition to his work with clients, Neil is also an author, having co-written Energy Shift: Game-Changing Options for Fueling the Future, a book highlighting the options for moving to a low carbon world.