Integration Process in the UK & Ireland

Come together


In early 2020, KAEFER acquired Wood Group Industrial Services in the UK and Ireland and the integration took place throughout the year. But how does a marriage work when you can’t invite everyone to the party?


It’s more exciting to embark on a journey together. And if the going gets tough, it’s great to know that there is someone else there to count on. This was especially relevant in 2020 when Wood Group Industrial Services (WGIS) was acquired by KAEFER at the start of the year.

The business brought over 2,000 highly skilled people on board and has catapulted KAEFER to the top 3 of industrial services providers in the UK & Ireland.

Bringing two companies together is always a challenge, but if the process is well-managed it runs smoothly. Things get tricky when there is a pan-European lockdown with different regulations in each country. Yet that’s exactly what happened.

Thankfully, despite the unexpected challenges faced, the integration process proceeded as planned.

This was thanks to a dedicated integration team that was in place from the outset. Knowing what challenges may come and navigating them is key, as well as constant communication with stakeholders and partners. Also, given the fact that KAEFER and WGIS worked in similar areas but with different clients, there was a great deal of synergy to benefit from.

A warm welcome to the family

There’s a business side to integration, but there’s an important human element, too. Over 2,000 people across the UK and Ireland would now become KAEFER employees. To welcome them to the family, a series of town halls were planned and organised by Tegan Owsnett, Marketing and Communication Manager. CEO Chris Foulkes, COO Ian Tattersall and Business & Strategy Director Trevor Woodward toured the UK in early March to introduce KAEFER as a company to the new team.

The town halls were not just for new members of the team. Existing KAEFER people were invited as well to bring everyone together. This was a bonding experience and reinforced the feeling that KAEFER and WGIS were a good match, rather than there being an ‘us and them’ element to the acquisition. Shortly thereafter, lockdowns would follow and much of the getting to know one another activities were moved online, yet they proved to be just as fruitful.

The big picture is made up of many smaller ones

When unexpected events change things, it helps to keep the big picture in mind as well as keeping an eye on the finer details.

“Throughout the integration process the leadership team were aligned on two key principles. Firstly, that we would be relentless in our focus on maintaining health & safety standards and secondly that we would maintain our service levels at an operational level so that our customers were not negatively impacted by our integration activities,” explains Ian Tattersall.

“To achieve this, we only involved selected individuals in the integration, ensuring that there was adequate remaining management capability to manage the ongoing works.” This approach was ideal in minimising disruption and maximising the benefits of the integration.

Seizing new opportunities and building upon old successes

From the restoration of the iconic Tower Bridge in London; the painting, cleaning and insulation of Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers; to the painting of the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland, WGIS worked on large prestigious projects throughout the UK. Now, as WGIS has been merged into KAEFER Limited to create KAEFER in the UK & Ireland, the company will build upon these previous successes, looking toward the shared future journey with ambition. It’s a good match and a partnership that will help smooth even the most unexpected twists and turns.


Integration process in the UK & Ireland

Come together


In early 2020, KAEFER acquired Wood Group Industrial Services in the UK and Ireland and the integration took place throughout the year. But how does a marriage work when you can’t invite everyone to the party?


It’s more exciting to embark on a journey together. And if the going gets tough, it’s great to know that there is someone else there to count on. This was especially relevant in 2020 when Wood Group Industrial Services (WGIS) was acquired by KAEFER at the start of the year.

The business brought over 2,000 highly skilled people on board and has catapulted KAEFER to the top 3 of industrial services providers in the UK & Ireland.

Bringing two companies together is always a challenge, but if the process is well-managed it runs smoothly. Things get tricky when there is a pan-European lockdown with different regulations in each country. Yet that’s exactly what happened.

Thankfully, despite the unexpected challenges faced, the integration process proceeded as planned.

This was thanks to a dedicated integration team that was in place from the outset. Knowing what challenges may come and navigating them is key, as well as constant communication with stakeholders and partners. Also, given the fact that KAEFER and WGIS worked in identical areas but with different clients, there was a great deal of synergy to benefit from.

A warm welcome to the family

There’s a business side to integration, but there’s an important human element, too. Over 2,000 people across the UK and Ireland would now become KAEFER employees. To welcome them to the family, a series of town halls were planned and organised by Tegan Owsnett, Marketing and Communication Manager. CEO Chris Foulkes, COO Ian Tattersall and Business & Strategy Director Trevor Woodward toured the UK in early March to introduce KAEFER as a company to the new team.

The town halls were not just for new members of the team. Existing KAEFER people were invited as well to bring everyone together. This was a bonding experience and reinforced the feeling that KAEFER and WGIS were a good match, rather than there being an ‘us and them’ element to the acquisition. Shortly thereafter, lockdowns would follow and much of the getting to know one another activities were moved online, yet they proved to be just as fruitful.

Seeing the wood together with the trees

When unexpected events change things, it helps to keep the big picture in mind as well as keeping an eye on the finer details.

“Throughout the integration process the leadership team were aligned on two key principles. Firstly, that we would be relentless in our focus on maintaining health & safety standards and secondly that we would maintain our service levels at an operational level so that our customers were not negatively impacted by our integration activities,” explains Ian Tattersall.

“To achieve this, we only involved selected individuals in the integration, ensuring that there was adequate remaining management capability to manage the ongoing works.” This approach was ideal in minimising disruption and maximising the benefits of the integration.

Seizing new opportunities and building upon old successes

From the restoration of the iconic Tower Bridge in London; the painting, cleaning and insulation of Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers; to the painting of the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland, WGIS worked on large prestigious projects throughout the UK. Now, as KAEFER Limited and WGIS have been merged to create KAEFER in the UK & Ireland, the company will build upon these previous successes, looking toward the shared future journey with ambition. It’s a good match and a partnership that will help smooth even the most unexpected twists and turns.