National Nuclear Laboratory


Tuesday 11 January 2022

NNL welcomes appointment of Ian Funnell as new Chair

The National Nuclear Laboratory welcomes today’s announcement by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy that Ian Funnell has been appointed as NNL’s new Chair, succeeding Sir Andrew Mathews. Whose second term as Chair ends on 25 January 2022.

Ian is currently Chief Executive Officer for Hitachi Energy UK Limited, for the UK and Ireland businesses. He spent nearly two decades at ABB in a number of different roles, including five years as Chief Executive Officer of ABB UK Ltd.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:

“The National Nuclear Laboratory plays a key role in the UK’s nuclear industry, as well as offering global leadership. It provides the technical knowledge and capability to ensure the country’s civil nuclear energy programmes are delivered safely and in a cost-effective way.

I am delighted that Ian Funnell has been appointed to this vital role. Ian is ideally suited to provide the leadership to build the NNL’s capabilities and deliver on its mission.

I would also like to thank Sir Andrew Mathews for his eight years of service to NNL and all the work he has done during his tenure to transform NNL into the organisation it is today.”

Ian Funnell said:

“I am honoured to accept this role. I have been fortunate to work in some very innovative companies in the UK and internationally, in sectors such as energy, automation, engineering and digital.

I will use that experience to support NNL’s work as it deals with some of the world’s most complex challenges. It is an organisation with a clear vision and strong strategy. I relish the chance to take its mission forward.”

Paul Howarth, NNL CEO, said:

“I’m delighted that Ian is joining NNL as Chair. This is a really exciting time for the organisation and I believe that Ian’s experience will be invaluable in helping NNL as it looks to fulfil its purpose. I’d also like to recognise Sir Andrew’s contribution and thank him for the role he has played during his involvement with NNL over eight years. I’ve very much enjoyed working with Sir Andrew. He’s helped enormously to shape the organisation and support myself, and the whole of NNL, on this journey.”

Sir Andrew Mathews said:

“It has been both a great privilege and a joy to be the Chair of the NNL for the last six years and to have spent nearly eight years on the board. I am delighted that I leave the business in such safe hands, and wish Ian well as he helps to take forward NNL’s new and exciting strategy; harnessing “Nuclear Science to Benefit Society” with a focus on clean energy, medical and health, environmental restoration and security. I will miss working with such a strong team and a hugely talented group of people and wish them every success in the future.”

In addition to his role at Hitachi Energy UK Limited Ian Funnell is also a mentor for the global high potential female talent programme and an Ambassador for the Women’s Leadership Association – indicators of his demonstrably strong commitment to sponsoring diversity and inclusion.

He has extensive experience in a non-executive capacity, and is currently Chair, CBI North West Region; Commissioner, Covid Recovery Commission; Board Member, Energy Revolution Advisory Group, Innovate UK; and Board Member, Energy Futures Lab, Imperial College. He is a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Ian Funnell’s term as Chair begins on 26 January 2022 and runs to 25 January 2025.

NNL is the UK’s national laboratory responsible for nuclear fission R&D and occupies a unique position in the nuclear innovation environment, taking science from inactive laboratory-scale demonstration to prototype deployment with real nuclear materials. It is the custodian of unique world-leading nuclear skills, facilities and equipment vital to the UK and aims to support policy and provide long term sustainable value for the UK in four Focus Areas: Clean Energy, Environmental Restoration, Health & Nuclear Medicine, and Nuclear Security & Non-Proliferation.