Lex Russell succeeds Simon Willis who held the role of chair for an extended three-year period
THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has appointed Lex Russell, managing director of Cemex UK Materials, as its new chair for the next two years.
Mr Russell (pictured) takes over from Simon Willis, chief executive officer of Hanson UK, who held the role for an extended three-year period, ensuring continuity during the period of leadership change with the appointment of Jon Prichard as MPA chief executive.
The role of MPA chair is a non-executive position responsible to the MPA board, whilst also leading and managing it. The chair is the guardian of members’ interests, working closely with the chief executive to ensure that the association pursues its agreed objectives.
Mr Russell has worked in the building materials industry for 40 years, initially starting in 1984 with Scottish quarrying and concrete product business Alexander Russell, holding a variety of operational and technical roles. In 1989 he joined RMC’s Technical Department before progressing through the organization as quarry manager, operations manager, business manager and director.
In 2005 RMC were acquired by Cemex and two years later Mr Russell moved to Australia to lead a team in the post-merger integration of Rinker, acquired by Cemex in 2007. He returned to the UK as vice-president before becoming managing director of the Cemex UK Materials business in 2018.
Jon Prichard said: ‘I am delighted to welcome Lex as the new MPA chair and look forward to working with him on a broad range of issues, from infrastructure, housing and planning reform to climate change and circular economy and biodiversity gain. Lex has a wealth of experience gained over four decades and his passion for the role our industry plays in helping to build a ‘Greater Britain’ will generate energy and enthusiasm as we rise to meet the challenges ahead.
‘I would also like to thank Simon Willis for his invaluable contribution during his term of office over the past three years, including my own appointment as chief executive and overseeing the transition from my predecessor Nigel Jackson. Simon was MPA chair during a particularly difficult time when we all had to adapt to new ways of working. And despite the challenges of Covid and economic uncertainty, the MPA continued to engage with key stakeholders and deliver value and benefit for its members.’
During Mr Willis’ period as chair, which began during the pandemic, the minerals industry was formally recognized as ‘essential’ by government ministers, allowing the sector to continue to support the construction and manufacturing sectors during the various lockdown restrictions under Covid-secure working practices.
He oversaw the launch of the MPA’s Vision Zero five-year health and safety strategy to help the industry eliminate the causes of high-consequence hazards most likely to seriously injure or impact the health of its workforce.
Also, during his tenure, the British Precast Concrete Federation became part of the MPA, expanding the scope of products represented – with two new product groups, MPA Precast and MPA Masonry.
Decarbonization roadmaps for the UK concrete and cement industry, and more recently the UK lime industry, were launched during Mr Willis’ period as chair, and the industry also celebrated half a century of unmatched biodiversity gain with 50 Years of Quarries and Nature.