Populous key top-drawer organizational changes


Populous announces new leadership roles Image: Populous

The famed design firm Populous (US) announced a number of strategic global organizational changes.

‘POPULOUS’ stated that Earl Santee, one of the Founders of the practice and Chair of the Global Board of Directors since 2020, has also been appointed as the firm’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this dual role, Santee will drive a unified leadership vision, aligning operational execution with strategic oversight.

Kansas City (US)-based Populous is a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.

Christopher Lee, Managing Director EMEA, Populous, UK, is a Member of Coliseum Global Sports Venue Alliance.

Nicholas Reynolds, Senior Principal within Populous’ Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Region, becomes the Chief Global Strategy Officer. Reynolds has been at Populous for 27 years and has worked on a diverse portfolio of innovative and iconic projects around the world, specializing in the design and transformation of iconic major stadia and arenas. In his new role as the Chief Global Strategy Officer, he is responsible for driving the evolution and growth of the practice through organic and inorganic initiatives in new and existing services lines.

Reporting to Reynolds are Mohit Mehta, Global Head of Sustainability, and Jonathan Nelson, Global Head of Digital.

‘POPULOUS’ further stated that Mehta is responsible for driving the company’s position as a global sustainable design leader and overseeing Populous’ overall sustainability vision, strategy and compliance throughout the practice and the design process. Supporting the creation and implementation of a regional sustainable design strategy, Mehta also serves as the sustainability lead for the Americas region. The regional sustainability leaders have also been appointed in the EMEA (David Jarratt) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) (Kavita Gonsalves) regions.

Jonathan Nelson, Global Head of Digital, is responsible for driving the firm’s fully integrated digital innovation strategy, maximizing digital design capabilities and systems, and driving value from design and performance technologies across the global company. The role serves as the primary interface between the global and regional organizations to ensure optimal use of technological infrastructure. Regional digital leads have also been appointed: Barbara Vasilatou (EMEA), Jason Gardner (Americas) and Nathan Tobeck (APAC).

Commented Earl Santee, Global Chair and CEO, “As a practice we are 40 years old this year. Throughout that time, it is the talent of our teams and a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that has continued to drive us forward. The recent investment into the company from the Providence Equity Partners signals a new era of growth for Populous. I am proud to take on the role of the Global CEO as we continue to innovate to better serve our clients and to continue our mission of designing the places where people love to be together.”

Providence (US)-based the Providence Equity Partners L.L.C. is a specialist private equity investment firm focused on media, communications, education, and technology investments across North America and Europe.

Noted Nicholas Reynolds, Chief Global Strategy Officer, “As we take Populous into a new phase of growth, our philosophy of design excellence remains completely fundamental to who we are and the work we do. Alongside that, our commitment to sustainable design and digital innovation underpins our ability to lead our industry and create transformative venues, experiences and events for both the clients and the fans.”

In APAC, as Populous continues to see growth across the diverse Asia Pacific region, the company announces the appointment of Richard Breslin to a Co-Managing Director role, joining the longstanding APAC MD and one of the firms’ founders, Paul Henry, in the role.

Breslin is based in Hong Kong, while Paul Henry remains based at the company’s APAC headquarters in Brisbane (Australia).

Put in Paul Henry, APAC Co-Managing Director, “This is an exciting time for Populous across Asia Pacific as we continue to build on our world-leading success in the region. Richard brings tremendous leadership to the role, and with his base in Hong Kong, he is positioned to further drive our strategy and success in Asia.”

Remarked Richard Breslin, APAC Co-Managing Director, “As we bring the extraordinary Kai Tak Sports project to realization in Hong Kong, it will establish a new global design benchmark in Asia, showcasing our Populous talent and strategy across the Asian market.”

The Kai Tak Sports Park is Hong Kong’s new, state-of-the-art, multipurpose sports complex that will accelerate the advancement of sport in Hong Kong.

The Kai Tak Sports Park in Hong Kong has a main stadium with a fixed seating capacity of 50,000. The stadium also has a 5,000-seat public sports ground, a 10,000-seat indoor arena and a community stadium with an athletics track and stands for 5,000 people. The park also has outdoor ball courts, a children’s playground, a health and wellness center, a bowling center, and retail and dining outlets.

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