Environment Analyst: CEO question time with Alan Ryder

May 18, 2021

RSK Chief Executive Officer and founder Alan Ryder has spoken with Environment Analyst for its CEO question time feature. In the interview, Alan discussed the group’s collegiate operating structures, the challenges of integrating acquisitions and business resilience during the pandemic years.

As RSK continues to grow and thereby occupy an increasingly prominent position in the environmental services market, Alan discussed how the business will evolve to meet its goal of becoming the number one environmental consultancy in the UK. Despite a concentration on business growth, RSK has been able to remain decentralised and “collegiate”. “We encourage entrepreneurship,” Alan said, and “we encourage our staff to offer new services and break into new markets”. By focusing on new opportunities, the business has been able to enjoy organic growth through “increased cross-selling opportunities” and by nurturing a number of “fledgling companies”, enabling “the people to grow” with the business. For acquisitions, the key is “whether they will be a good fit for the RSK family,” Alan commented, and “whether they can bring additional services in-house so we can offer an end-to-end solution to clients”.

Talking about recent acquisitions, Alan identified Binnies as a valuable addition to the group for its future growth. Through the acquisition of Binnies (previously known as the Black & Veatch UK and Asia water businesses), new opportunities to strengthen our offer in the water sector have become apparent. Citing a global demand for updating water services and infrastructure, especially in the UK, the integration of the Binnies businesses “cements us as a market leader”. Alan also mentioned that Binnies will provide exciting opportunities for RSK to expand geographically by using the enthusiastic team in Hong Kong to broaden the services offered across Asia. Alan continued to add that the expansion of the business, both in terms of the service offering and the geographic reach, has been made possible by “everyone [being] unified by the desire to build a green business and a sustainable future”. Having this common perspective across the group creates a sense that everyone is part of a shared “overarching culture”.

During the interview, Alan discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on RSK. Despite the uncertainty presented by the first UK lockdown last year, the business has been able to “weather the storm,” and has “strengthen[ed] our business development efforts in sectors less affected”. The company has endeavoured to redeploy staff in order to keep people in the business, “because our workforce is the most important thing we have,” Alan said. He added that he is “delighted with how we’re performing” a year on. “We’re feeling confident about the future,” he comments, adding that growth has been focused on diversification and that the pandemic has “reaffirmed why diversification is vital”.

Looking ahead, Alan is hopeful about reaching his goals for the business by 2025. The aim of being the UK’s number one environmental services firm with an annual turnover of £1 billion and 10,000 employees is “indeed where we think we will be by 2025,” Alan said. If “we continue doing what we are good at”, he hopes we will achieve these goals by 2025, if not sooner. In the future, Alan foresees potential growth across multiple new regions, as new acquisitions will offer increased scope globally. He emphasised that, by not being “overly reliant on any specific market,” new opportunities wherever they may be will offer exciting prospects for the future.

Subscribers to Environment Analyst can access both Part I and Part II of the interview in full online.