Andrew Hodgson is stepping down as CEO of Tyneside-based subsea engineering specialist Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD).
He will be will be succeeded by his deputy Mike Jones from 23 October. No stranger to the business, Jones has worked for SMD for over 25 years.
A director since 2004, Jones takes over following a planned two-and-a-half-year transition put in place when SMD was acquired by Chinese company CRRC in 2015, the world’s largest provider of propulsion and power control systems.
Andrew Hodgson has been at the helm of the company for nine years and led the business through its acquisition by the Chinese transport giant in a £120 million deal as part of the firm’s strategy to penetrate new markets in which SMD has particular expertise.
Hodgson said: “I’m proud to have been a part of SMD for the last nine years and see everything it has achieved despite the challenges facing the offshore industry in that time. We are coming to the end of a three-year turnaround on target with strong growth and revenue across all our business divisions.
“We’ve invested in our services, added products, expanded our global network and lowered operating costs. We’ve dealt effectively with competitive challenges and now the business is more stable it is the appropriate time to hand over to Mike.
“People are integral to the business and very committed and Mike brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. I’d like to wish Mike and the team all the very best for the future.”
Hodgson has confirmed he will remain chair of The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the public, private and education sector partnership which works to provide strategic economic leadership for the region.
In 2010 Jones led SMD’s Trenching, Mining and Renewable division, helping to secure its dominant position in subsea equipment for the growing Offshore Wind market, winning a Queens Award for the company 2012 and delivering a world-first in the deep water mining system for Nautilus Minerals.
For the past two years Jones has been Deputy CEO working as a Board Member and MD in China developing a team and SMD facility in Shanghai to establish local operations for the Chinese market.
He said: “It is a privilege to take over from Andrew to guide SMD through its next phase of development. It’s a business for which I have a deep understanding and passion, being part of its evolution during the past 25 years.
“We have a very experienced, dedicated and talented team backed by a committed and patient owner. We operate in some interesting markets with great potential and I’m looking forward to working together with our stakeholders in the North East and internationally to take the business forward and build great future.”
Mr Chen, vice general manager of CRRC and chairman of the board of directors at SMD, said: “I’d like to thank Andrew for his commitment to company and wish him every success in his future endeavours.
“Mike taking over the role of SMD CEO is a great appointment for the business. He is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to our markets and has already worked extensively to develop our presence in China.”
SMD is a market leading global company with over 45 years’ experience in the subsea technology sector. Its equipment, technology and methods are used across the oil and gas, telecommunications, renewables and defence industries. The company is widely regarded throughout the international subsea industry for being a world leader in remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and the manufacture of advanced submarine engineering systems.