The chief executive of the Association of Consulting Engineers has outlined a programme of rapid change for the organisation and has accused its former bosses of the body of a lack of leadership
Nelson Ogunshakin, who was appointed in December, said: "The industry needs leadership, passion and to be able to demonstrate what we are doing. Leadership has been lacking in ACE and I think I can provide that."

He said: "The feedback I've had so far is very positive. The companies have said they have been waiting for someone who understands the industry to take over ACE. There is a vacuum in providing a platform for the industry, creating a voice in the UK and internationally, gaining respect and value for the profession".

Ogunshakin plans to expand ACE's activities and to recruit more firms. He also intends to restructure and rebrand the association.

"Change shouldn't be done for the sake of it, but because it is needed," he said. "Consulting engineering deserves more respect and status and I'll try to see that it gets it. I will also promote the interests of the organisation at a higher level, among politicians and clients, across the economy."

Several large engineering firms, such as Hyder, Parsons Brinkerhoff and Black & Veatch, have refused to join ACE, but Ogunshakin aims to win them over. "There are a number of firms who are key players but are not members. We have to recognise their needs and take them on board. We have started a dialogue to understand their needs and what issues they see as being key."

The main issues Ogunshakin intends to tackle are professional indemnity insurance and the transport system. He hopes to contribute to the government's review of the railways this year.