Professor Juergen Maier, FREng, Chief Executive, Siemens plc

Juergen Maier was appointed Chief Executive on 1 July 2014. He has been a member of the Siemens UK Executive Board since 2008, and held senior roles within Siemens in the UK and Germany including Managing Director of Industrial activities for the UK and Manufacturing Director of the award-winning Drives factory in Congleton.

Juergen joined Siemens in 1986 with a BSc in production engineering from Nottingham Trent University, on a Siemens-sponsored graduate programme. He was made an honorary professor of Engineering at the University of Manchester in March 2014 and became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in September 2017. Juergen has also received honorary doctorates for his services to UK Science and Engineering for the Universities of Lincoln, Nottingham Trent and Salford Manchester.

Juergen is a passionate advocate of the UK rebalancing its economy and has supported many UK-wide initiatives championing manufacturing, improved infrastructure and engineering skills. He has recently been asked by the Government department BEIS to lead a new review on Industrial Digitalisation for UK Manufacturing. Juergen also supports the modern re-industrialisation of the Northern Powerhouse and in that capacity is Chairman of the North West Business Leadership team and a board member of Greater Manchester LEP as well as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Born 1964 in Germany with Austrian nationality, he came to the UK in 1974.


Nick Shields, Director, Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service

Nick Shields has 30 years’ experience working in both SME and multinational manufacturing businesses such as Polaroid and Digital Equipment Corporation and smaller Scottish engineering businesses.

Nick’s experience has been gained through senior management roles in areas such as: operations management of high volume FMCG responsible for restructuring the global manufacturing operation across US, UK and Far East; engineering manager in a capital equipment manufacturer responsible for new product development and product development within the electronics industry.

Nick was appointed Director of SMAS in June 2011. SMAS work directly with manufacturing firms to increase productivity through targeted improvement projects which deliver quantifiable change whilst embedding a culture of change. With the demand to ever increase business productivity accelerating, the digital age offers great opportunities to manufacturing business, enhancing their competitive edge and driving new value streams.


Sarah Jardine, Senior Director of Manufacturing, Optos Plc

Sarah is Senior Director of Manufacturing at Optos Plc, a UK based company which designs, develops and manufactures its core ultra-widefield retinal imaging devices.  She is responsible for providing leadership and direction for staff in the manufacturing facility and has a strong understanding of cGMP and LEAN philosophies and methodologies.

Sarah holds a BSc(Hons) in Laser Physics and Optoelectronics and an MSc in Laser Engineering. Having started her career as a Laser Engineer with Thales Optronics, she joined Optos as a Senior Optical Engineer in January 2000 and  progressed through  Operations and R&D teams to her current role. Sarah is also currently the Chairperson of the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Board.

People are at the heart of how Sarah runs her manufacturing division and she has managed to create an environment where people have fun and are engaged, open and participative.


Tom Williams, COO, Airbus

Tom Williams was appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Airbus Commercial Aircraft in January 2015. He is responsible for the overall operations including Engineering, Procurement and Supply Chain Management. Tom is a member of the Executive Management Team of Airbus and the Airbus Commercial Aircraft Executive Committee.

Previously Tom was Airbus Executive Vice President Programmes, a position he held from July 2005.  His role covered all Airbus aircraft families and as such, he was in charge of ensuring the profitability of the civil programmes, of leading the product policy and the development of new products, as well as ensuring proper delivery to the customers.  Before being appointed to this position, he had been Executive Vice President Procurement since February 2004.

After completing an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce Aero Engines in 1972, Tom went on to carry out increasingly senior roles in a number of UK manufacturing companies.

In 1992 he was appointed Operations Manager for Cummins Engines, looking after all manufacturing at the company’s 1,200-strong Scottish factory.  At the start of 1995 he became Manufacturing and Business Group Director for the Sensors activity of Pilkington Optronics – a joint venture with Thomson CSF of France. Focusing initially on the introduction of ‘lean manufacturing’ techniques, he also became involved in integrating Thorn EMI Electro Optics into the business.

Tom joined British Aerospace (now merged with Marconi Electronic Systems to form BAE Systems) in 1997 as Site Director and General Manager at the Prestwick site of the company’s Aerostructures division. Two years later he was appointed Operations Director – Internal Supply, within the company’s Military Aircraft and Aerostructures Division, then Eurofighter Operations Director with responsibilities that included manufacturing and other business functions at the Warton and Salmesbury sites of BAE Systems.

In November 2000, Tom became Managing Director and General Manager of Airbus UK, a position he held until he became Airbus’ Executive Vice President Procurement in 2004.

Tom was born in 1952 in Glasgow. During his apprenticeship he gained an HNC in Production Engineering and in 1988 an MBA from Glasgow University. Married with one daughter, Tom is a keen football supporter and occasional golfer.

Tom received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in January 2011 and was awarded the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the Republic of France in December 2015.

In 2016 Tom received the Mensforth Manufacturing Gold Medal from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) for his achievements as a world-class production engineer, and was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration by the University of the West of England in recognition of his contribution to operations, manufacturing and business.

Tom received the SAE International lifetime achievement in October 2016.

Tom has been a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society since May 2004.


Dave Atkinson, UK Head of Manufacturing, SME & MM Commercial Banking, Bank of Scotland

Dave has 30 years’ experience in the banking industry, having joined Lloyds Banking Group in 1988, and has since held various client relationship management and senior leadership roles within the organisation.

Before being appointed to lead the SME & Mid Market Manufacturing sector across the UK in 2014 he was a Regional Director for the Commercial Banking division where he led a team of managers supporting around 13000 commercial clients across a wide variety of business sectors.

He was also previously Chairman of the Banking & Finance Committee for the Gloucestershire LEP during his time working in the South West Region and now also sits on a number of committees and advisory boards linked to various sector manufacturing & engineering initiatives.

In his current role as UK Head of Manufacturing for the Lloyds Bank & Bank of Scotland Businesses he has around 130 managers across the UK who are professionally trained through a University of Warwick accreditation programme in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group to support and help businesses in the Manufacturing and Engineering sectors.

Dave is married with 2 children and spends his time ‘relaxing’ by running, cycling & mountaineering.


Rhys Herbert, Senior Economist, Lloyds Bank

Rhys Herbert is a Senior Economist in the Research Department of Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. He is responsible for analysing and forecasting trends in the UK and   other major economies, with a special interest in the manufacturing sector. Rhys joined Lloyds Bank in January 2011. Prior to this, he worked at the economic consultancy Oxford Economics where he headed up its industry forecasting service. He has also worked at the Office for National Statistics, Prudential Assurance Corporation, Credit Lyonnais Bank and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Rhys has a MSc in Economics from the University of London.


Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, Liberty House Group