Ipsum

Our Executive Leadership Team
We have over 500 directly employed professionals located throughout the UK, specialising in Water, Power, Infrastructure and Technology solutions, supported by integrated office-based functions.

Here are our people leading our work around the UK;

Richard Thomas

Chief Executive Officer

• Extensive operational and commercial experience within the utilities, support services and rental sectors, with a repertoire of senior management positions, including Specialty MD and CEO.

• Successfully led a business merger through a rigorous Competition & Markets Authority process and helped to grow A-Plant to the number 1 rental business in the UK.

• Transformed A-Plant from a provider of generalist and commoditised rental equipment to a wider-ranging rental group with a speciality solution and focus. Richard helped achieve this outcome through a combination of a buy and build strategy and focussed organic growth.

• Richard has a keen eye on drawing out and integrating the core capabilities of an organisation and developing a business growth strategy that is grounded yet significant in its value creation.

Susan Shardlow


Chief Financial Officer

• Worked across a range of construction sector businesses including Finning International, Hewden Stuart, Cogen and more recently the Blue Group.

• A wealth of experience working in corporate environments, as well as in companies under private equity ownership, where flexibility and agility are required.

• A passion for ‘raising the bar’ and has successfully set up and delivered great finance teams along with robust systems & processes.

• Led several major projects to implement ERP systems and deliver re-engineering of processes and structures as well as broader experience of managing IT, HR, H&S, Legal, Corporate Governance and Compliance functions.

• Has a wealth of M&A experience which includes business integration post-acquisition.

Simon traylen

Business Development Director

• An experienced Business Development professional with over 26 years of experience in the Utility and Construction sectors spanning Tunnelling, Gas, Water, Electric, Telecoms, Renewables and Digital Technologies such as Digital Twins and Artificial Intelligence.

• Simon joined Ipsum from Costain Group where he was undertaking a Business Development transformation role by bringing together a matrix of strong business capabilities to focus business development efforts in line with new business strategies.

• Undertaken similar sales transformation roles with Morrison Utility Services, Grundfos and Xylem and is very familiar with growth techniques that align with customer needs.

• Has extreme passion about ‘delivering on the promise’ and ‘exceeding customer expectations, and we welcome his drive, insight, and guidance on how Ipsum can differentiate itself from the competition.

• Simon is responsible for combining our matrix capabilities and strengths to develop robustly and focused Business Development plans that align with Ipsum Group strategic growth plan for the coming years.

Lee Maxwell

Managing Director Power

• A chartered electrical engineer and has worked in the electricity industry for over 27 years. He started his career with Yorkshire Electricity in 1994 as a Graduate Trainee having studied Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds.

• In the years that followed Lee held a variety of strategic, operational and leadership roles within the group now known as Northern Powergrid. Highlights included 3 years as general manager in their contracting business and latterly he was Director of the DNO Connections business delivering new electricity supplies to customers throughout Yorkshire and the North East.

• In 2008 Lee joined United Utilities as a senior operational manager in their electricity services contracting division and shortly after this joined Electricity North West as it reformed as an independent DNO. While at Electricity North West Lee became Energy Solutions Director and had responsibility for the DNO Connections business and the private networks business.

• In 2019 Lee Joined UK Power Networks Services where he led on innovation, solution offerings, the development of their ICP business and growth in the north of England.

• Having joined Ipsum in April 2021, Lee is Managing Director of the Power division and is leading the integration and growth of the business.

Craig Howard

Commercial Director

• An experienced Commercial professional with over 24 years of experience across Utilities, Highways Maintenance, Civil Engineering, Environmental, M&E and Facilities Maintenance.

• Obtained a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from York University and has previously undertaken Senior Commercial roles at Enterprise, Amey, Ringway and ABS Commercial Solutions.

• A strong contractual background and vast experience operating different forms of contracts with varying different commercial mechanisms.

• Extensive strategic and operational experience leading commercial teams, driving business processes and managing commercial risk across the Group.

• Craig is responsible for leading and delivering against Ipsum’s organic growth objectives and ensuring that the Group Commercial functions deliver a “best in class” service to all stakeholders.

Mark Kaney

Managing Director
Water and Infrastructure

• Over 20 years’ experience and a track record of success in the UK and internationally in the areas of strategic change, digital transformation, portfolio delivery, managing business risk, and regulatory interfaces.

• A frequent speaker and contributor at some of the industry’s most prestigious events. He believes that education is essential to the success of future generations, which is why he frequently participates in webinars and interviews to share and discuss industry knowledge and concerns.

• Believes that digital adoption is crucial to the success of the Water and wider utility industries, and he will always prioritise digital adoption and a technology-led approach in a company’s methods of operation.

• Track record of proactively enabling sustainability and meeting environmental challenges. Mark feels strongly about these issues, which is why he strives ceaselessly to ensure that significant change occurs.

• A leader of teams that have won numerous awards, including the Institute of Asset Management’s Digital Innovation and Corporate Transformation awards, and he is a firm believer in building dynamic brands.

Dave housley

Head of SHEQ

• Has worked in the HS&E profession for the past 20 years and studied at Nottingham and Trent University where he obtained a post-graduate diploma in SHEM. David is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health.

• David initially started his career as a tradesman working for his fathers’ business in the construction and civil engineering sector.

• His first role in H&S was a site-based role on a project which constructed a new 60m laboratory and test facility for the Health & Safety Executive/Commission in Buxton Derbyshire.

• During the last 20 years, David has worked across multiple high-risk sectors including, Oil and Gas, Petrochemical, Highways, Rail, Manufacturing and heavy Civils on projects ranging in value and complexity between 10m and 150m. David Joined the Ipsum leadership team in September 2021 and one of his key functions is to develop a SHEQ team that is aligned and supports the business, its people and provides a platform for growth and development in the future.

Karen Harding

Head of Human Resources

• Over 14 years’ HR experience in the outsourcing sector, a BA Hons degree in English from the University of Birmingham, and is a fully chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD)

• Karen initially specialised in recruitment before moving into a generalist HR role at Alfred McAlpine Infrastructure Services (AMIS).

• Following AMIS, Karen joined Capita Plc as HR Operations Partner where she spent four years supporting leadership teams in the Capita Symonds, and the Life & Pensions divisions.

• Worked as HR Business Partner from 2012 for seven years at Kier Group Plc in the Workplace Services division before joining Ipsum as Head of HR in February 2019.

• Extensive strategic and operational experience delivering the people plan, driving organisational and cultural change and leading the HR agenda in complex business transformation programmes, large-scale restructure and TUPE transfers, within both the public and private sectors.

Steve Simpson

Head of IT

• Has 25 years of experience in a variety of industry sectors ranging from manufacturing, consultancy, local government finance and insurance and utilities.

• A strong, proven track record in delivery improvements, integrations and strategy delivery.

• Steven has had a previous wide range of roles focussing on service delivery, strategy, systems development and integration through to ERP implementation.