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Architect practice Populous announces new Chief People Officer role and key appointments

Architect practice Populous announces new Chief People Officer role and key appointments
June 17, 2024

Leading global sport and entertainment architecture and design practice Populous has today announced the creation of a new Chief People Officer role, as well as appointing three of its Regional Board members to its Global Holdings Board.

Kristin Gibbar will join the practice as Chief People Officer and Senior Principal, based out of the firm’s Americas HQ in Kansas City.

Gibbar’s experience includes Chief Human Resources Officer and Global HR Director roles at companies including Black & Veatch, Amazon and Sun Microsystems.

Gibbar will start her new role on 24th June. She will report to Populous’ Founder, Chair and Chief Executive, Earl Santee.

Santee advised “as our business and the range of services we can offer to clients continue to expand, our staff growth has also increased steadily. We are now at over 1,200 staff across 29 offices worldwide, so our ability to drive a global people strategy and programmes has become increasingly important.

“Kristin’s appointment to this new global position will allow us to create consistency and harmonisation in roles, further foster leadership and career development at a pan-regional level, and strategically enhance workforce mobility, performance management, and overall talent management across our regions.”

Populous also announces three new internal appointments to its Global Holdings Board, all of whom bring extensive leadership and project experience across the company:

Brett Wightman, Senior Principal, APAC
Brett Wightman is a Senior Principal and Regional Board member within the APAC region, with extensive experience in designing large-scale sports, entertainment and aviation facilities for Populous.

Based in the Populous Singapore office, Wightman has strong experience working across complex design and construction programs across Asia. Projects include Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan, KL Sports City in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, The Londoner Arena in Macao and the soon-to-open Kai-Tak Sports Park in Hong Kong.

Wightman has also held leadership roles on recent Populous COEX, Transit-Oriented Development and Aviation projects across Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand.

Declan Sharkey, Senior Principal, EMEA
Declan Sharkey is currently a Senior Principal and Regional Board member within the EMEA region. 

A creative and forward-thinking architect and industry leader, Sharkey has worked on a diverse portfolio of innovative projects across Europe. This includes multiple current stadium projects in Italy, as well as arenas in Munich, Cardiff, and Cork in his native Ireland. His most recent project, the Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, is the largest in the UK and the most sustainable arena in Europe.

In addition to his architectural roles, Sharkey plays a key part in business development for all new arena and elite training facility projects within the EMEA region.

Scott Capstack, Senior Principal and Design Director, Americas
Capstack is a Senior Principal and Regional Board member within the Americas region.  As Design Director of the Americas region, he provides oversight of the regional design process, as well as insight and in-depth knowledge of trends and innovations across building typologies.

A graduate of the University of Kansas, Capstack has collaborated with NFL teams, MLS franchises, convention centres, collegiate and university programs and multiple additional clients on projects across the industry. His experience allows him to advise and direct design with an informed, diverse and creative perspective, assisting on all aspects of projects. This combines with a talent for cutting-edge facility design across a portfolio of work that encompasses a variety of athletics facilities and convention centers, including the Los Angeles Convention Centre, Gillette Stadium and Levi’s Stadium.

Talking about the new appointments to the firm’s Global Holdings Board, Santee enthused “this is an exciting time for Populous, as we continue to combine strong regional performance and design excellence with an increased focus on pan-regional and global strategy, enabling us to continue growth through expanded services to our clients around the world. Scott, Declan and Brett are all hugely experienced leaders who will bring unique insight and talent from their regional leadership organisation to our Global Holdings Board.”

More information on Populous 

Images (from top): Kristin Gibbar, Brett Wightman, Declan Sharkey and Scott Capstack. Credit: Populous.

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