Q and A | Cameron Cromwell, managing director for infrastructure, Capita

Cameron Cromwell is Capita’s new managing director for infrastructure.

He joined the firm in January from Jacobs where he was executive director of operations – infrastructure and before that he was at Morgan Est (2008-09) and head of programme delivery at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (2005-08).

Q: After six months with Capita, what are the big business challenges?

A: In simple terms it’s very much about growth – organic but through acquisitions as well. Acquisition is perhaps the easy way but how long do you wait for the right thing to come along? The strategy must therefore also have a plan for organic growth and that is about recruiting the right people and building the right relationships. It is a long game. 

Q: Is the future about doing more things or doing different things?

A: Certainly it’s about doing more. But its also about doing different things. Traditionally Capita has been more project focussed and it has a great capability of selling itself on the big projects. Where we want to go is to look at more frameworks and more towards a portfolio that has a blend of partnerships with client, frameworks and projects.

Q: So is the future more about asset management than new build?

A: It’s both. In my particular area we will be focussing on frameworks, for example the Highways Agency’s collaborative design framework, working with contractors – and we do need to be better at working with contractors – on the ASCs (Asset Support Contracts) as well as the professional services framework for TfL. So it is getting on those frameworks for clients which is important.

Q: What are the challenges?

A: Our first challenge is that we are not big enough in water or environmental. We have some very good relationships with water clients and we do a lot of waste water work with for example Scottish Water. But we are not big enough.

Q: Are you now seeing the upturn in the market

A: Budgets are increasing and while there is an increase in spend planned it is so far slow to come out. All the talk is that it is happening and the money is there – but in reality in many sectors nothing is really coming through yet. It is a worry for the whole supply chain. But there is a bow wave coming so how do we position ourselves to win that work when it comes?

Q: You talk about needing the right staff – do the right staff exist?

A: We will have to hire some people and recognise our talent. We have identified some people who are ready to move back to the UK from say Australia or Middle East. It is about matching the right people to the opportunities. We have had some really good appointments recently.

Q: What does success look like?

A: We will certainly be larger and getting a good return for shareholders from a client base that trusts respects and values the Capita relationship. Not more relationships but better. I can see absolutely no reason why we couldn’t be two or three times larger than we are at present.

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