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NZTC’s Myrtle Dawes to balance the boardroom at Aberdeen-based FirstGroup

Myrtle Dawes, who will join the board of FirstGroup at the start of next month.
Myrtle Dawes, who will join the board of FirstGroup at the start of next month.

One of the top team at the Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) will bring gender equality to the board at FirstGroup following her appointment as a non-executive director of the Aberdeen-based transport giant.

Myrtle Dawes, 53, is to join FirstGroup’s boardroom team on April 1, the FTSE 250-listed firm said today.

Her appointment will create an equal split of five women and five men on the board.

It also means the company – which has its roots in an employee-management buyout of Grampian Transport in 1989 – will have its first Aberdeen-based director for years.

As the business has grown, so too has the geographic spread of its boardroom team.

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Ms Dawes is solution centre director for the Granite City-headquartered NZTC, where she leads the development of technology for net-zero in the North Sea energy industry.

NZTC’s website describes her as “an established leader with extensive experience in the energy sector both in the UK and internationally”.

She has previously worked in a string of senior safety and engineering project management jobs in offshore oil and gas, including for BP and BHP Petroleum.

After joining Centrica in 2009, the chartered chemical engineer held senior executive roles spanning engineering, project management, technology and digital transformation.

NZTC, originally the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, hired her in 2019.

Accolades

Ms Dawes’ career highlights to date include her being selected as one of 100 “women to watch” in the Cranfield FTSE Board Report 2017.

Last year she was recognised by digital platform Transition Economist as one of its TE:100 women of the energy transition.

Closer to home, she collected one of the Oil and Gas Authority maximising economic recovery gongs on behalf of Centrica at the 2015 Oil and Gas UK Awards in Aberdeen.

That accolade was in recognition of an event Centrica hosted that year – its “hackathon” of ideas aimed at reducing the costs for projects that got stuck in the pipeline.

Myrtle Dawes with the prestigious trophy she collected in behalf of Centrica in 2015.

Ms Dawes is also a non-executive board member of the Centre for Process Innovation, based in north-east England, and one of the governors at Lincoln University.

She sits on the Technology Leadership Board – one of seven industry task forces reporting to the North Sea Transition Forum, which provides senior government and industry leadership for the offshore oil and gas industry.

And she is a fellow of both the Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Energy Institute.

In addition, she is an honorary fellow of the Association for Project Management.

Rounding off her biography on its website, NZTC says: “Myrtle has two children and in her spare time studies mathematics, is a keen cat lover and gamer.”

Transport group says new director will add ‘significant value’

FirstGroup said Ms Dawes would serve on its recently established responsible business committee, which focuses on key safety, sustainability and corporate responsibility matters, including the firm’s transition to net-zero.

Executive chairman David Martin added: “Her background in managing complex, safety critical engineering projects as well as her wealth of knowledge and experience in both the energy transition and improving customer service through technology will be of significant value to the group.

“Her appointment comes at an important time for FirstGroup as we progress the opportunities and responsibilities we have as a critical enabler of society’s sustainability goals.

“We will continue to oversee an orderly evolution of the board to ensure it has the right balance of skills, experience and diversity for the group’s future needs.”

New report finds progress towards more diversity in UK boardrooms

Ms Dawes’ appointment coincides with a report by the independent Parker Review, led by former Pennon Group chairman Sir John Parker, saying nearly all FTSE 100 companies have met diversity targets it set.

The Government-commissioned review had called for ethnic minority representation on the boards of all Footsie firms by December 2021.

Companies in the FTSE 250 have a target of 2024 to appoint at least one ethnic minority director.

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