Bus Industry News, Executive Changes

Downer announces new global CEO

Downer Group says its succession plan has worked as its COO will become its new CEO following Grant Fenn’s retirement

Global public transport operator Downer has announced that its current chief operations officer (COO) will become the new Downer CEO this year.

Downer, which is part of a joint venture with Australian multi-modal public transport provider Keolis Downer, helps run significant bus operations in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

After an extensive succession process, current Downer COO Peter Tompkins has been appointed Downer Group CEO and managing director following the retirement of Grant Fenn in February 2023.

Downer chairman Mark Chellew extended his thanks to Fenn for his contributions as CEO over the past 12-and-a-half years.

“Grant has been the driving force in reshaping this business,” Chellew says.

“His commitment to our customers, our people and our shareholders has been unwavering, often in very testing circumstances. We wish Grant the very best for his future endeavours.” 

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Fenn says it was an honour to serve as CEO of the Downer Group. 

“I leave the business in good hands and look forward to watching it thrive in the transition to a low carbon economy,” Fenn says.

“There are few businesses with the opportunities that Downer has ahead of it.” 

Fenn retired after Downer’s half-year results were announced on February 9 this year, yet will remain available throughout 2023 to help with the transition.

Downer says Tompkins comes to the role of Downer CEO with deep knowledge of the company’s culture, its strategy, markets and customers. 

“Peter is an exceptional leader and candidate to take on the CEO role,” Chellew says.

“He has extensive and detailed experience across Downer’s operations, risk management and corporate functions. It is pleasing to have appointed an internal successor after an extensive process, which demonstrates the bench strength and depth of talent within the leadership team.”

Tompkins joined Downer in 2008 and was appointed Group General Counsel in 2013. Following Downer’s acquisition of Spotless in 2017, he was appointed Project Director for the Royal Adelaide Hospital Public Private Partnership and in 2018 was appointed CEO and Managing Director of Spotless, leading the integration of Spotless into Downer.

Tompkins says Downer is a leader in each of its key markets. 

“I am proud and excited to have been given the opportunity to lead this iconic business,” Tompkins says.

“Downer is a great company with exceptional people who are passionate about what we do. My focus will be on improving project performance, profit margins and extracting value for shareholders, as highlighted in the Chairman’s 2022 AGM address.” 

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