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Chris Johnson, Balfour Beatty’s new chief technology officer

Balfour Beatty has announced the creation of a new leadership role – chief technology officer – to support its growing focus on technology and innovation as a strategic imperative for the infrastructure and construction industry.

The role will also support the group’s Site of the Future programme.

Chris Johnson is appointed to the new position, effective immediately, reporting to Leo Quinn, group chief executive. An existing member of Balfour Beatty’s Executive Committee, Johnson has to date held the role of group chief information officer and procurement director. 

Prior to joining Balfour Beatty, Johnson was heavily involved in implementing change programmes via new technologies and processes within manufacturing businesses.

Under his leadership at Balfour Beatty since 2015, the group has executed steady improvement of operational and back office processes within the first two phases of its Build to Last Programme. This will now be accelerated through innovation in three areas: Project delivery through technology, digital project information and engineering excellence.

“Our industry is probably a generation behind manufacturing in deploying technology to drive efficiency and innovation – as well as historically resistant to learning and applying lessons from other sectors,” said Quinn. 

“Balfour Beatty must lead this change to drive continuous improvement across our business and ensure we are the best positioned to deliver for our clients, despite skills shortages in all aspects of construction and engineering.”

Commenting on his new role, Johnson said, “With enhanced BIM modelling, virtual reality, drones and laser scanning, to name but a few, new technologies and data – when adopted, embedded and utilised effectively – have the power to transform the infrastructure and construction industry through lowering cost, improving quality and transparency and enhancing safety.

“There are unrivalled opportunities for real step changes that will help drive improvements and innovation for the infrastructure and construction industry as a whole.”

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