27 Jan 15. While I would be the first to admit that the announcement last October that Leo Quinn was to leave QinetiQ where he had been CEO since 2009 came as a complete shock news this morning that Steve Wadey, currently Managing Director of MBDA, is to replace him as the new CEO of QinetiQ during the second quarter of this year has come as a very pleasant surprise.
This is indeed excellent news for QinetiQ and having known Steve Wadey for many years now and having witnessed at first hand the leadership qualities that he has in abundance I am in absolutely no doubt that QinetiQ has captured the right man to take this excellent company forward and drive future growth.
Having been both Executive Group Technical and Managing Director of MBDA since 2008, in the latter role for the past eleven years and at the forbear company, Matra BAe Dynamics, which in 2001 became MBDA, Steve Wadey is not only an excellent leader with wide area knowledge of most aspects of defence running through his veins he is also, as an engineer, a man with great experience in areas such as neutral network research, electronic design, modelling, trial analysis and systems design. Extremely well respected and liked across the whole defence industry and in Whitehall and Westminster too Wadey is also a past Co-Chair of the National Defence Industries Council Research and Development Group and remains Co-Chair of the Defence Growth Partnership.
Steve Wadey already knows QinetiQ well having worked together on joint contracts and on industry bodies such as the above mentioned and Team Complex weapons. His role will be to provide strong leadership and drive forward the further development of QinetiQ and its future capabilities to meet ever changing customer requirements. Exporting is a hugely important aspect of this and for its part QinetiQ will now be able to draw on Wadey’s considerable international experience and expertise as the company seeks to take established EMEA capabilities to new markets. As already mention being an engineer at heart Wadey is rooted in technology. He will I am sure inspire the large team of QinetiQ scientists, engineers and technicians and his experience and work in engineering and defence capabilities, internal research and development investment and future systems at MBDA will hold him in good stead. Finally, in the area of future role I would mention the ongoing need for the company to deliver and drive forward a more customer-focussed, market-led innovative culture across all aspects of the operation. On that score my personal belief that as a motivator of people there is no-one better able to do this than Steve Wadey.
I mention some of the above because QinetiQ is an international business that creates value by making the expertise and know-how of its people available to customers, both through contracts to provide services and by the creation of IP. It is a great business but it is also one that is sometimes poorly understood. The resulting knowledge base that has been built up over many years and sometimes decades is continually updated by innovations generated during the advisory, test and evaluation stages, and research based work undertaken by the group in partnership with its customers.
The so-called Value Pipeline at QinetiQ consists of a portfolio of present and future earnings streams and the strategy is well defined in terms of managing the value pipeline for optimal returns. The portfolio of product and services in which QinetiQ operates includes areas such as air, maritime, weapons, space, training, cyber plus several other aspects of defence and other business activity areas.
For MBDA the loss of someone who has been at the helm of the UK end of the three way partnership is a huge loss. But MBDA is strong and in my view it has ample opportunity to source its next UK MD internally. A great company MBDA certainly is and one that is performing extremely well and while I and other will miss the talents of Steve Wadey at its helm I have no worries that they will find it difficult finding a replacement.
For the defence industry the move from MBDA to QinetiQ by Wadey is probably neutral but a move to QinetiQ may strengthen the hand of the Defence Growth Partnership of which he is co-chair a touch.
I wish him well in his role and I am bound to be pleased that QinetiQ has finally got its man. As he drives this fine organisation forward I for one will be watching with great interest.