Global engineer-construction giant CH2M Hill Ltd. has named Jacqueline Hinman, president of the firm's international unit, as its next CEO, effective Jan 1. The promotion will make her the first woman to lead a multi-billion-dollar firm in the industry.

The Denver-based company reports total revenue of about $7 billion and 28,000 global employees.

In the new role that was announced Sept. 16, Hinman, 52, will succeed Lee McIntire, 64, a former Bechtel executive who has led CH2M Hill since 2009. He remains chairman through 2014 but did not specify if he would serve beyond that. Traditional CEO retirement age at the firm has been 65.


Hinman joined CH2M Hill in 1988 and has held numerous management positions. She had been president and group CEO for its consulting, engineering, procurement and construction Center of Excellence.

As a top business develop executive in the international group, she played a major role in the firm's successful pursuit in 2006 of one of its highest-profile projects, leading the consortia to run the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games construction program. She also was key in its 2012 win of a program management contract for construction of upcoming World Cup competition facilities in Qatar, believed to be valued at more than $4 billion.

Hinman also served as chairman and CEO of Halcrow Cos., after CH2M HILL’s 2011 acquisition of the 6,000 person U.K.-based firm.

Hinman "is the best equipped to lead us forward," McIntire told ENR. "She has a lot of energy and a quiet focus." She was the unanimous choice of the company's board, he says.

"Jacque has been the rumored successor for years," says one former executive who declined to speak publicly. "I am not surprised."

Robert G. Card, another company veteran who served as chief operating officer for the London Olympics construction among other roles, had also been a rumored CEO contender, but left the firm last year to become CEO of Montreal-based engineer SNC-Lavalin.

“I think we all feel fortunate to have Jacque as our new leader and a deep pool of talent behind her," says McIntire. "We are excited to see the next stage in CH2M HILL’s growth.”

According to Hinman, McIntire will focus on the firm's Asian strategy and on business development assignments.

McIntire still anticipates global growth for the firm although he has stated it would reduce the number of countries in which it is working. He says markets in the middle East, Mexico and Canada "are looking better."

Hinman said a successor to her international position would not be named until "close to the end of the year." She adds, "there are multiple internal candidates."