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Former GC assumes CEO, MD roles at listed defence company

Integrated services company Downer Group has elevated its COO, who was formerly the company’s group general counsel, to be its new chief executive and managing director.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 06 December 2022 Corporate Counsel
Former GC assumes CEO, MD roles at listed defence company
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Peter Tompkins has been appointed as chief executive and managing director of the Downer Group (ASX: DOW), following the retirement of outgoing predecessor Grant Fenn in February 2023.

Mr Tompkins joined the listed defence company in 2008 and was appointed as its group GC in 2011, following which he became project director for the Royal Adelaide Hospital PPP and then, in 2018 — after Spotless was acquired the year earlier — he became chief executive and managing director of Spotless Group Holdings, leading the integration of Spotless into Downer. In 2021, Mr Tompkins was appointed chief operating officer for the group.

Mr Tompkins brings “deep knowledge of the company’s culture, its strategy, markets and customers”, said Downer chairman Mark Chellew.


“Peter is an exceptional leader and candidate to take on the CEO role. He has extensive and detailed experience across Downer’s operations, risk management and corporate functions,” he said.

“It is pleasing to have appointed an internal successor after an extensive external and internal process, which demonstrates the talent within the leadership team.”

Speaking about his appointment, Mr Tompkins said that Downer is a leader in each of its key markets.

“I am proud and excited to have been given the opportunity to lead this iconic business. Downer is a great company with exceptional people who are passionate about what we do,” he proclaimed.

“My focus will be on improving project performance, profit margins and extracting value for shareholders as highlighted in the chairman’s 2022 AGM address.”

Mr Chellew thanked Mr Fenn for his “significant contribution” to the company.

“Grant has been the driving force in reshaping this business. He has provided strong leadership during often difficult times. His commitment to our customers, our people and our shareholders has been unwavering. We wish Grant the very best for his future endeavours,” he said.

Mr Fenn added: “I leave the business in good hands and look forward to watching it thrive in the transition to a low-carbon economy. There are few businesses with the opportunities that Downer has ahead of it.”