Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Wood’s new boss Ken Gilmartin feels like he’s ‘coming home’

Ken Gilmartin, who takes over as chief executive of Aberdeen-based Wood on July 1.
Ken Gilmartin, who takes over as chief executive of Aberdeen-based Wood on July 1.

Irish businessman Ken Gilmartin flew into Aberdeen to start house-hunting today after being unveiled as the next chief executive of Granite City-based Wood.

“I feel like I’m coming home,” he said, explaining the “smell of the sea” in the city to which he will soon relocate reminded him of his home town in the north of Ireland.

His latest visit to Aberdeen, where he will take over as Wood’s chief executive from Robin Watson on July 1, is his sixth since joining the multinational engineering and consulting business as chief operating officer last August.

The first thing I noticed about Aberdeen was that you can smell the sea.”

Mr Gilmartin, 50, has led a nomadic life since his days at University College, Dublin, where he studied civil engineering.

His career could have run a very different path following a stint as “frustrated goalkeeper” for League of Ireland premier division football club Sligo Rovers.

But his engineering degree instead took him to Germany and jobs with railway company Deutsche Bahn, Siemens and Uhde.

Sligo, in Ireland, was the starting point for Wood’s new chief executive.

He had spells working for the German firms in locations including the Middle East and Egypt before joining US-based engineering company Jacobs – initially in Ireland and later, as he worked his way up the management ranks, on America’s eastern seaboard.

The upcoming move to Aberdeen will see him relocate from Philadelphia, along with his Dublin-born wife, Karen, and their youngest daughter Aisling, 16.

Eldest daughter Ciara, 20, is currently at college in New York and middle child Aine, 18, is due to take up a university place in Sussex this autumn.

Mrs Gilmartin is “CEO of our household”, her husband said.

His is moving to Aberdeen from Philadelphia.

Mr Gilmartin said he was “absolutely thrilled” by his promotion to the top job at Wood, and also the chance to lead the company into a “new era”.

It is a company he knew well long before he joined the payroll as it would often beat Jacobs to major contracts, he added.

He said the phone call he received from Wood chairman Roy Franklin to tell him he’d got the CEO’s post, after the company searched internally and externally for the best candidate to replace Mr Watson, was “a very proud moment”.

Wood’s new boss aims to ‘maximise face time’

After taking time to “stop and breathe” in order to consider what is next for the company as it strives to recover from the pandemic, he plans to get out and about visiting its global operations and meeting as many of its people and clients as possible.

“I want to maximise face time,” he said, adding: “What is really fantastic about Wood is the depth of relationships with our people and clients. I want to continue to build these relationships.”

Mr Gilmartin also revealed the company is planning a “strategy refresh” after recently striking a deal to sell its built environment consulting business to Canada’s WSP Global  for about £1.5 billion.

Aberdeen will put Wood’s new boss and his family within easier reach of relatives in Ireland.

Sligo Rovers, in red, against Shamrock Rovers in Ireland’s SSE Airtricity League Premier Division.

Whether or not Mr Gilmartin develops a passion for the Dons after he settles down to his new life in the north-east remains to be seen.

But he will be keeping a close watch on the fortunes of Sligo Rovers, just as he done throughout his time in the US.

Asked about his early impressions of the Granite City, he said: “I grew up in Sligo, by the Atlantic. The first thing I noticed about Aberdeen was that you can smell the sea.

“It really does feel like I’m coming home.”

For more like this…

Already a subscriber? Sign in





Please enter the name you would like to appear on your comments. (It doesn’t have to be your real name - but nothing rude please, we are a polite bunch!) Use a combination of eight or more characters that includes an upper and lower case character, and a number.

By registering with [[site_name]] you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy

Or sign up with

Facebook Google



Or login with

Forgotten your password? Reset it