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Managing complex defence programmes

2 November 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

 Managing successful defence programmes requires a unique set of skills to navigate in an ever-evolving landscape of security threats and technological advancements. Such programmes often involve multiple stakeholders, diverse teams and high levels of uncertainty, making effective management paramount. The complexity of defence programmes demands meticulous planning, comprehensive risk assessment, seamless coordination and the ability to adapt quickly to unforeseen challenges. This event aims to bring together different defence industry professionals who are experts in this field to share their insights, experiences and best practices in managing complex defence programmes. By exchanging knowledge and discussing innovative strategies, this event seeks to enhance the capabilities of programme and project managers and contribute to the success of future defence initiatives.

The management of complex defence programmes is a critical skill that requires careful planning, effective execution and innovative leadership. To shed light on this challenging field, the APM Scottish Branch are delighted to present an insightful event titled “Managing Complex Programme in the Defence Sector”. This event aims to bring together professionals and experts from the defence Industry to share their knowledge, best practices in managing such intricate endeavours. By attending this, event participants will gain valuable insights into the intricacies of defence programmes management and enhance their skills in navigating these multifaceted operations successfully.



18:00: Registration and Refreshments

1830: Introductions

1840: Presentation from Ross Gillan Leonardo UK

1900: Presentation from Kris Harwood KPMG

1920: Presentation from Mathew Varghese

1940: Round Table Q&A

2000: Close of event


Ross Gillan – Programme Manager, Leonardo UK

Ross joined Leonardo UK 6 years ago as a Project Manager within the advanced Targeting Business in Edinburgh, having previously worked as a Project Manager within the IT sector. In first 4 years with Leonardo UK Ross had the responsibility to lead the delivery of Leonardo’s programme of work as part of the Dragonfire UK consortium. More recently, Ross assumed a wider portfolio responsibility within the Advanced Lasers business area. Within 8 years in the Aerospace & Defence industry Ross has worked on a number of complex multi-national programmes; working closely with the UK MoD & on opportunities further afield in North America and Asia. Ross is a Full APM member (MAPM), Educated in Mathematics from the University of Glasgow and more recently have been undertaking an MBA, part-time, at Edinburgh Business School, which is set to complete in April’24.

Kris Harwood – Associate Director, KPMG

Kris is Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) with over 10 years’ experience delivering complex major programmes, both in the UK and overseas. He has delivered in defence, infrastructure, and financial services sectors and brings significant operational understanding to business transformation and strategy development and execution.

Kris has a passion for Capital Delivery Excellence. He is collaborative, and brings this approach to his engagements, allowing him to build trusted relationships quickly. Coupled with a demonstrable record of accomplishment of robust diagnostic, design and implementation of transformations across the full operating model and project lifecycle.

Mathew Varghese – Programme Manager, Warwick Business School & Leonardo UK

Mathew is a Programme Manager from Leonardo UK with over 17 years of experience in project and programme management. Working in a range of programmes in the defence sector and with a large variety of customers, Mathew has developed a keen interest in effective and innovate management in complex defence programmes. Most recently, Mathew completed his MBA from Warwick Business School and his dissertation on “The Role and Influence of Programme Managers in Managing Major Change in Large and Complex Engineering Defence Programmes” which will provide a wider industrial context of the defence Industry.


Leonardo UK Edinburgh
2 Crewe Road North
Edinburgh, EH5 2XS United Kingdom
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