Summer 2014

View from the helm

Introducing Mike Howarth, the new managing director of Divex (now part of James Fisher Defence) and James Fisher Defence.

A recent recruit from QinetiQ, Mike Howarth started his career as a mechanical and electrical engineer. After a secondment to the army he went to work for defence company Babcock International Group, before moving to Serco’s Defence Science and Nuclear Division. Just a few months into his new role at JFD, Mike gave Pelican an update:

What are your plans for Divex and James Fisher Defence (JFD)?

When I was appointed it was announced that we would be looking at how to merge the two businesses. My challenge is to harness the talent and best practice within each whilst fulfilling our customer obligations and shaping us as a learning and progressive organisation for the future.

Describe your visions for the future.

I want to attract, develop and retain the best people to deliver market-leading services and products. I want us to be the organisation people want to work for, and work with. I also want us to be recognised as thought leaders, easy to work with and with a “can do” reputation.

What does the merger [of Divex and JFD] mean for customers?

In the short term it’s business-as-usual and the priority is that we continue to deliver. Going forward, I’d like to think our customers will feel there’s an even greater focus, and that we have more flexibility in our delivery and solutions as a result of having combined resources and expertise.

How will the merger affect employees?

The merger isn’t as a result of weaknesses in either business but because we can do more by working together. Right now, both businesses are busy and winning new work. Those who embrace the merger will find opportunities for personal and professional growth through more varied and challenging work.

What is the future strategy?

The starting point has to be our core business and customers, and to ensure we deliver a flawless service. If we make our core customers into “raving fans” we’ll get follow-on work. We also have to adapt to changing customer and market needs and proactively shape the thinking. The key is to focus on targeted opportunities, rather than spread ourselves too thinly.


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