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Sir Ian Wood and the energy transition: P&J Business Breakfast chance to hear his thoughts

Sir Ian Wood
Sir Ian Wood

Veteran businessman and philanthropist Sir Ian Wood will be sharing some of his thoughts on topics close to his heart during a much-anticipated online event later this week.

The Press and Journal Business Breakfast, in association with Royal Bank of Scotland, and supported by Burness Paull and Aker Solutions, will focus on green recovery and the energy transition. It will take place from 8-9am on Friday.

Sir Ian, 78, is as passionate today about helping the north-east economy diversify from its past dependence on oil and gas as he was during the decades he spent transforming a family fishing business into an international energy services giant.

John Wood and Son split into JW Holdings – which remained focused on the fishing industry – and London-listed John Wood Group, which today describes itself as one of the world’s leading consulting and engineering companies.

First-class honours in psychology

Sir Ian, who graduated from Aberdeen University in 1964 with a first-class honours degree in psychology, was Wood Group’s first chief executive and later chairman – a role from which he retired in 2012, when the Aberdeen-based company employed 42,000 people in 50 countries, with annual sales of £5 billion.

He is still chairman of JW Holdings, one of Scotland’s largest fishing groups and chancellor of Robert Gordon University.

Much of his time is devoted to his role as chairman of Opportunity North East, the organisation he launched in late 2015 to broaden and boost the north-east economy.

He was the founding chairman of OGTC (formerly the Oil and Gas Technology Centre), which is helping transition Aberdeen to a global hub for energy-related technology innovation and development.

Charity work

Sir Ian and his family are also behind a substantial amount of charity work through The Wood Foundation.

Honours coming his way over the years include a string of lifetime achievement awards, a CBE, his knighthood in 1994, a GBE and an Order of the Thistle.

Joining Sir Ian on the panel of speakers for Friday’s event are James Close, head of climate change at Scottish banking giant NatWest Group, Burness Paull partner Neil Smith and Aker Solutions UK country manager Sian Lloyd Rees.

To register for free visit

The P&J will on the same day publish a business supplement devoted to renewables, transition and the move to net zero.

Our last Business Breakfast, devoted to mergers and acquisitions, enjoyed a bumper attendance.


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