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Richard Powell OBE elected as Chair of the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) Maritime Defence and Security Group Council


Richard will take on the role for a 3 year term, succeeding Brian Johnson, Business Development Director at BAE Systems Naval Ships, who served as the MDSG Chair for over 6 years.

The role of the Chair also includes the membership of the Maritime Enterprise Working Group, advising Government on the national shipbuilding strategy.

What is the MDSG?

The Maritime Defence and Security Group (MDSG) Council provides the focus for the naval and maritime security interests of member companies of the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI). Member companies range from large corporations to small manufacturers and systems houses. Their products and services cover virtually everything associated with modern warships, submarines, coastguard and other government related vessels.

What does the Chairman role involve?

As the Chairman of the MDSG, Richard will be responsible for enabling the council members to bring to bear their considerable and diverse experience in industrial maritime defence and security issues. Richard will also sit as an Ex-officio member of the SMI board and has a seat on the Maritime Enterprise Working Group which provides a forum through which the marine industry can liaise with government on issues of common concern.

On taking up the appointment, Richard Powell commented, “I am greatly honoured to be taking up this prestigious role at an important time for the UK Maritime Industry. As we emerge from the COVID crisis, embrace Brexit and face the ongoing climate challenge, the maritime industry has a key role to play in the UK’s economic recovery.”

What is the Society?

The SMI is the voice of the UK’s maritime engineering and business sector promoting and supporting companies which design, build, refit and modernise ships, and supply equipment and services for all types of commercial and naval ships, ports and terminals infrastructure, offshore oil & gas, maritime security & safety, marine science and technology, maritime autonomous systems and marine renewable energy.  SMI’s work is discharged through the work of the five Groups into which the Society is organised:

  • The Marine Science and Technology Group represented by the MSTG Council
  • The Commercial Marine Group represented by the CMG Council 
  • The Maritime Defence & Security Group represented by the MDSG Council
  • The Maritime Autonomous Systems Group represented by the MASG Council
  • The Ports and Terminals Group represented by the PTG Council

You can read more on the Society of Maritime Industries here


Following a 37 year career in the Royal Navy, Richard has been with QinetiQ for over 3 years and currently holds the role of Director for Strategic Engagement (Maritime), responsible for relationship management with defence and industry in the maritime domain across the group globally.