Dr Peter Bonfield OBE has been named chair of IOSH's Board of Trustees, succeeding Dr Bill Gunnyeon.
As vice-chancellor and president of the University of Westminster, Peter is responsible for ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of around 22,000 students and colleagues on its London campuses and – since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – its virtual campus.
He is also deputy chair of London Higher, the organisation representing London’s universities, and founded and chairs its London Health and Wellbeing Network, which supports students and colleagues facing challenges, particularly relating to mental health and wellbeing. He is a senior non-executive director of UK Active, which aims to improve the health of people through its mission to encourage more people to be more active more often.
Peter will take up his appointment at IOSH on Monday, 1 February. Among his initial priorities will be the recruitment of a new chief executive, ahead of Bev Messinger’s planned retirement this summer, as well as overseeing the development of its next five-year strategy.
'Health, safety and wellbeing has been my passion and priority throughout my career,' said Peter. 'I am really looking forward to engaging and listening to the IOSH community to inform the development of a shared strategy that helps to make an even more positive impact in the future.'
He brings a wealth of executive and non-executive experience to this role, including at senior government level. He has chaired four independent reviews for the government, has worked as a non-executive director in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and for the Talent Advisory Group.
'Health, safety and wellbeing has been my passion and priority throughout my career'
Peter was also one of four experts appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to look into the safety of residents of high-rise housing following the Grenfell Fire in June 2017.
Prior to this, he was seconded part-time to the Olympic Delivery Authority for the London 2012 Games, where he co-created and delivered a sustainability strategy and led on the sustainable procurement of construction products.
Other past roles include being president and chair of the board of trustees of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, non-executive director of AIRTO, which represents research and technology organisations, and CEO of the BRE Group, which focuses on enabling a safer and sustainable built environment. He is also a former national cycling champion and coach, including leading Great Britain’s women’s triathlon team in the 2004 Olympics.
His dedication to health, safety and wellbeing, along with some of his roles, has meant Peter has experienced working with many IOSH members and familiarised himself with the Institution.
Peter added: 'Our IOSH community has much to build on, informed by the WORK 2022 five-year strategy, to further improve the professionalism, competencies and underpinning ethics that enable IOSH members to fulfil their roles and responsibilities so successfully.'
He was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to research and innovation in the construction industry. He holds a number of Fellowships, including with the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, and has Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Edinburgh Napier, Hertfordshire, Loughborough and Bath.
Outgoing chair Dr Bill Gunnyeon said: 'I am delighted that Council has appointed Peter as my successor. His experience and expertise are exactly what is required to help take IOSH to the next stage of its development and I am confident that I am leaving the Board and the Institution in safe hands.
'I wish him and the Board every success as together they lead IOSH through the current challenges and into the significant opportunities that lie ahead.'