UKGBC names new chief executive

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has appointed Smith Mordak as its new chief executive, effective from 1st June 2023.

They will take over from Julie Hirigoyen, who will be standing down after over eight years at the helm.

Smith brings significant industry knowledge and technical expertise to the role — their career has centred on creating and implementing strategies for the transition to a healthy, fair and sustainable built environment.

Throughout their career, Smith held leading roles in architecture and engineering firms, including Webb Yates Engineers and Studio Weave.

Currently, they are the director of sustainability and physics at Buro Happold.

Smith is also a board member for the Journal of City Climate Policy and Economy and The Architecture Foundation, as well as a nationally elected councillor at RIBA.

In addition, Simon McWhirter, current director of communications, policy and places will move into a deputy chief executive role — with a focus across international, national and local policy work.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the amazing team, trustees, and membership at UKGBC,” said Smith.

“I’m looking forward to building on the charity’s extraordinary body of work and Julie’s inimitable legacy. 

“We live in existentially challenging times; our actions over the next few years will have an outsized impact on the Earth’s ecosystems and on many generations to come. 

“I’m honoured that I’ll be playing my part in this crucial period as part of this powerful, change-making coalition.”

Julie added: “It is with great confidence and the utmost respect that I will hand over the stewardship of UKGBC to Smith. 

“They bring creative wisdom, technical expertise, and a deeply human-centric approach to the challenge of transforming our built environment into one where both people and planet can thrive. 

“On behalf of everyone at UKGBC, I am excited at the prospect of warmly welcoming Smith to this unique organisation.”

Sunand Prasad, chair of the board of trustees at UKGBC, stated: “Smith combines a deep, science-based and systemic understanding of the climate emergency with a clear sighted, principled and pragmatic approach for what needs to be done in response. 

“From founding an innovative, award-winning design practice to helping a major international consultancy, Smith has consistently shown imagination and determination in achieving change.

“We look forward to their leadership of the team in this critical period for taking urgent and effective action to limit and reverse environmental degradation.”

Sunand also thanked Julie for her extensive work as CEO at UKGBC.

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