CIBSE’s chief executive Stephen Matthews DL FRSA CEng FCIBSE FIMeche will formally step down this month, after 15 years as the head of the Institution.
He will hand over to Ruth Carter, who was previously managing director of Telegraph Media, at the CIBSE AGM on 6 May.
Current CIBSE President Stuart MacPherson said: ‘Stephen rose to the challenge of the last year with the energy and determination of a man who has just taken on the CEO role.’
Past CIBSE Presidents also paid tribute. Terry Wyatt said: ‘Stephen has enabled nothing short of a complete transformation of our industry in every aspect, from training and delivery, setting standards for performance and targets towards the environmental and energy performances that are so crucially required.’
While David Hughes said: ‘Stephen has proven to be a friend and wise advocate to everyone, not only to staff and members within our organisation.’
Matthews joined CIBSE as chief executive in 2006 after a military career in which he attained the rank of brigadier and was troop leader with command of Chieftain tanks.
Stephen has steered us from strength to strength
In May 2013, he was appointed a deputy lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire.
A qualified mechanical engineer, he brought to CIBSE a passion to develop the Institution and make an informed contribution to the climate-change debate.
Matthews has been a huge asset to CIBSE throughout his tenure as CEO, growing the Institution and building its reputation over the 15 years he has served.
He has been instrumental in forming alliances with key organisations and institutions across the building engineering industry, helping to raise the profile of the profession and provide wider support for Members. This has included: signing a memoranda of understanding with the Institute of Refrigeration in 2016; building a relationship with the Royal Academy of Engineers; signing a refreshed strategic partnership agreement with ASHRAE in 2020, to enhance collaboration and communication; and most recently, seeing the launch of Actuate UK, a new alliance for the UK engineering services sector.
Matthews has supported the Institution’s growth from a membership body with around 17,000 Members to nearly 21,000 Members, as well as establishing the Young Engineers Network.
Other notable achievements during his tenure include:
- Acquisition of mid-career college, now CIBSE Training – last year, more than 1400 individuals attend a course
- CIBSE Journal launch in 2009, following the previous CIBSE magazine being moved away from UBM
- Establishment of the CIBSE Knowledge Portal
- Establishment of the UAE Region, and development of the relationship with Hong Kong Region.
- Introduction of a new CIBSE website and IT infrastructure to position CIBSE for growth and resilience.
Although not exhaustive, this list illustrates perfectly Matthews’ commitment to ensuring that members remain at the heart of everything CIBSE does.
Over the last year, he has been the linchpin in supporting CIBSE staff through the pandemic, heading weekly staff meetings and ensuring all staff feel supported. Notably, there were no staff furloughed through the pandemic.
He will be greatly missed, and we wish him all the very best for his retirement.
CIBSE Presidents past and present remember Stephen Matthews’ term of office
Stuart MacPherson, CIBSE President:
The test of a CEO comes when times are difficult. We have had our testing ties during his tenure, not least a global financial crisis in 2008 – and what a year 2020/21 turned out to be as his last year in the post.
Rather than a gradual segue into retirement, Stephen has had to manage the Institution through probably the toughest year in its existence. He rose to that challenge with the energy and determination of a man who has just taken on the CEO role anew. He can look back with satisfaction on a year in which the Institution operated as close to normally as possible, and which returned a balance budget in spite of financial challenges. All this while remaining characteristically polite, considerate, calm and helpful to his staff and the Board.
Peter Y Wong, CIBSE President 2017-18:
Stephen once teased me that, on his first visit to Hong Kong, I accused CIBSE of not doing enough for the Hong Kong Region. In fact, Stephen has never stopped supporting CIBSE’s Regions, and has steered us from strength to strength – something for which we are all grateful.
David Hughes, CIBSE President 2006-07:
Stephen has provided sound counsel to me, together with advice where appropriate. He has proven to be a friend and wise advocate to everyone, not only to staff and members within our organisation, but also to the wider landscape of professional bodies and industry representatives.
A significant part of my tenure as incoming president was to help appoint a new chief executive. Stephen’s credentials matched our selection criteria admirably. Today we are in a better position than we have ever been. We must congratulate Stephen on his significant contribution to this success.
Terry Wyatt, President 2003-04:
Stephen has enabled nothing short of a complete transformation of our industry in every aspect, from training to delivery, setting standards for performance and targets towards the environmental and energy performances that are so crucially required. We should be immensely grateful for Stephen leading us to the position we are in today globally. His departure will leave a mighty place for another to fill.