June 18, 2019 – Russell Reynolds Associates has placed Steve Blair as the new chief executive officer of U.K. mapping authority Ordnance Survey (OS). Patrick Johnson, the search firm’s country manager for the U.K., led the assignment.
“The board of OS is delighted that ministers have appointed Steve Blair as CEO of Ordnance Survey,” said Kieran Murphy, chairman at Ordnance Survey. “He brings strong leadership, deep knowledge of technology and an understanding of how to operate in markets that are changing rapidly. Steve joins OS at a time when we are developing a number of long-term customer and commercial relationships which continue to reinforce OS as a world class organization.”
Mr. Blair has extensive customer and commercial experience in executive and board level roles across the technology sector. He joins OS with a record of delivering products and services in established and high growth emerging markets. He also has a wealth of experience in strategic planning and portfolio development. Mr. Blair most recently served as CEO of e2v, a manufacturer of sensors, radio frequency generators and semiconductors. Previously, he was business group director for Spectris plc. Mr. Blair is an independent non-executive director of Oxford Instruments and holds the role of senior independent director.
Mr. Blair will lead the national mapping agency at an exciting time for both OS and the wider international geospatial industry. Within Great Britain, geospatial data is being used to underpin innovative products and services, drive efficiencies across the public sector and support thousands of small businesses and start-ups. Globally, accurate and authoritative location data is being used to support economic growth, enable infrastructure and help tackle challenges such as urbanization and natural disasters. Mr. Blair will be responsible for delivering Ordnance Survey’s strategy both at a national and international level.
OS works with a diverse range of customers and partners in government, business and consumer sectors across Great Britain and internationally. It produces and manages data of unparalleled depth, breadth and accuracy, maintaining the definitive record of Britain’s geographic features and producing innovative maps and services for a global customer base. OS has around 1,000 employees with a head office in Southampton, where Mr. Blair will be based.
“I am extremely proud and thrilled to be taking up the role as CEO,” Mr. Blair said. “Ordnance Survey is an iconic British organization which plays an essential role in supporting both the private and public sectors with accurate location data. I am looking forward to combining my experience in technology and emerging markets with Ordnance Survey’s world leading geospatial data and expertise.”
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Russell Reynolds Associates’ public sector, trade and associations practice group serves a wide variety of public sector and not-for-profit organizations, related public bodies, regulators and government-owned companies. It also fills the executive leadership needs of global charities, healthcare providers and local government and trade associations.
The search firm’s consultants have extensive experience with recruiting, developing and advising exceptional board members, CEOs and specific senior functional leadership for non-profit organizations around the world. Russell Reynolds also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessments and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.
Mr. Johnson is a London-based member of Russell Reynolds’ board practice and the global non-profit practice. With more than 20 years of executive search experience, both in the U.K. and internationally, he has advised on a wide variety of senior executive, chairman and non-executive director positions across the civil service, charities, regulators, healthcare, academia and the wider public sector, as well as undertaking chairman and non-executive director roles in the private sector. Mr. Johnson previously worked within PA Consulting Group’s human resources practice, after a period in the oil industry.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media