South West construction firm Beard has appointed a new non-executive director.

Alison Cox joins the 130-year-old company, which is headquartered in Swindon, bringing with her more than two decades of experience from across the construction sector.

Ms Cox is best known for her time at Sir Robert McAlpine, having been an engineer, project manager and managing director. She currently serves as the domestic bursar for St John's College, a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. She is also a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building.

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In her new position, Ms Cox will pay particular focus to driving excellence in design management as Beard continues to deliver complex multi-million-pound projects in a variety of sectors and across its regional offices in Bristol, Guildford and Oxford. Ms Cox succeeds Chad Murrin, who stepped down from the board at the end of 2023.

Mark Beard, chairman of Beard, said: “We find huge value in strengthening our board with outside perspectives. Not only does Alison bring needed diversity to our board, she brings a genuine diversity of thought and skills. Her extensive background and expertise across construction and her ability to challenge the status quo are incredibly important as we expand our regional footprint and secure projects in new sectors.”

Ms Cox added: “2024 promises to be another busy year for Beard with the opening of a fifth regional office on the south coast and work starting on a number of high-profile projects across the business. Beard’s people-focussed approach strongly aligns with my personal values, and the opportunity to join the board and collaborate with the talented team is one I relish. I look forward to using my skills to support and enhance technical excellence across the business.”

The appointment follows two senior promotions within the team at Beard. Mike Hedges has been promoted to the newly-created position of company operations director and will oversee all of Beard’s offices in Swindon, Bristol, Oxford and Guildford. He will also oversee the new south coast office.

In addition to his role as Beard’s Swindon director, Jamie Harwood now has the responsibility of safety director. In the role, Jamie will build on Beard’s exemplary health and safety record and spearhead the entire company safety strategy.