Interview with Simon Bowen, CEO

Simon Bowen, Chief Executive Officer of Cavendish Nuclear, discusses his background, the organisation’s future and what he enjoys most about working with graduates.





Who are you and what’s your background?

I’m Simon Bowen, the Chief Executive at Cavendish Nuclear, and I’ve been with Babcock for two years now. I joined the navy at 18 and spent ten years there as an Operator in submarines. I did my degree and completed leadership courses there, and then was lucky enough to get on the High Potential Programme at BP as a People Leader.

I did that for about 15 years, working my way up the chain. When I turned 40 though, I wanted to do something different, so I left BP and worked for myself for a while. I also developed an MBA course for entrepreneurs.

As much as I enjoyed working for myself, I started to realise that I missed working with people. It’s something I’m good at and I wasn’t getting enough of it. So I started looking around and was offered the job at Cavendish. I’ve worked in some great places over the years, but I have to say that being here has definitely been the pinnacle of my career.

What is the relationship between Cavendish Nuclear and Babcock?

The reason we’re called Cavendish Nuclear is because we can’t use Babcock in the civil nuclear environment. The team came up with Cavendish Nuclear and I think we’ve been really successful in delivering that as a brand. So we’re no different to anyone else at Babcock – we’ve just got a different name.

What does Cavendish Nuclear do and what is its future focus?

We’re the biggest nuclear services company in the UK. We have three business streams:

the first is decommissioning, which is all about taking apart nuclear power stations that have finished operating. The second stream is nuclear services, where we provide critical services to the main nuclear-generating stations in EDF Energy. We also provide a significant number of services to Sellafield and AWE Aldermaston.

The third stream is New Build, where we have a big contract with EDF. There have also been some great new announcements about NuGen up in Sellafield, so we’re looking to capture some significant work there and also with Hitachi and Horizon in Anglesey.

We have a growing business in Japan, and we’ve got aspirations to grow much more broadly into many European countries and other areas of the Far East.

How do graduates contribute to the business?

I love working with graduates, because in the same way as apprentices and new employees, they have an unencumbered and unblinkered view of the world. They’re fearless. They bring innovation and freshness that maybe someone of my age has lost to a degree because of all the context and experience I’ve had.

I think they really push the organisation to be something we wouldn’t be without them. They drive us to different levels of performance. The trick for us is to make sure that we create the space for them to do that, and the motivation for them to want to contribute.

To find out more about Cavendish Nuclear’s projects and how you can get involved, visit