Weir picks Sir Jim McDonald to lead advisory board

Engineering academic Professor Sir Jim McDonald has been chosen to lead Weir Group’s new technology advisory board.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald. Picture: Robert Perry

The Glasgow-based group said the board, which includes experts from a range of disciplines, is aimed at keeping it at the “leading edge” of technological development in its industry sectors.

McDonald, who joined Weir as a non-executive in January, has been principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde since March 2009, and has held the Rolls-Royce chair in electrical power systems since 1993. His other roles include director of the UK National Physical Laboratory, director of Scottish Power Energy Networks Holdings, chair of the Glasgow Science Centre and director of the UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Centre.

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“Throughout my career I have seen the benefits of different disciplines and industries working together and sharing insights,” he said.

“The most successful technology and engineering companies are always looking to learn and that will be the main focus of the board’s work: ensuring the best ideas, wherever they are from, are available to Weir’s engineers and its customers.”

Weir chief executive Keith Cochrane added: “The Weir Group was founded in 1871, at the height of the last industrial revolution, by pioneering engineers who invented new ways to make their customers more efficient. Today, the rapid pace of technology development brings significant opportunities for a global engineering Group which has innovation at its core.

“Our technology board, under Sir Jim’s leadership, has been specifically chosen to ensure Weir benefits from expertise from a range of backgrounds, both academic and industrial, and uses that knowledge to continue to succeed in an increasingly complex and connected world.”

The other members of the technology advisory board include Jackie Mutschler – who was senior vice-president and head of upstream technology for oil major BP until 2014 – and Professor Bill Drury, the Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor of engineering of innovation at the University of Bristol and chair of the department’s industrial advisory board.

They are joined by Dr Tony Hooley – a scientist and entrepreneur who has founded several tech firms including Cambridge Mechatronics, which develops smartphone technologies – and Dr Laura James, a consultant in technology, engineering and innovation working with commercial and non-profit organisations encouraging collaboration.