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CEA appoints new chief executive

Suneeta Johal

Suneeta Johal to succeed Rob Oliver as chief executive of Construction Equipment Association

SUNEETA Johal has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Construction Equipment Association (CEA). Taking up the role on 4 October 2021, she will succeed Rob Oliver who is retiring from the position after 20 years’ service as the trade association’s first chief executive.

The CEA’s board conducted a candidate search that attracted more than 50 applications from trade association professionals. Ms Johal (pictured) joins the CEA from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), where she held the position of director of commercial development.


At IPSE, she was responsible for the commercial strategy of the organization, including new initiatives to drive membership growth and ensure value for money for existing members. Also, in her role as head of research, education and training, she was responsible for developing and implementing a research, education, and training strategy as part of the senior leadership team.

Welcoming her appointment at the CEA, Paul Ross, chair of the Association’s executive board, said: ‘The recent year has been challenging for the entire industry but as we head out of the pandemic and look towards the future, I feel very excited about the numerous opportunities and changes that are taking place.

‘The appointment of Suneeta as chief executive is a significant move and I feel that her experience and capabilities will be key assets in strengthening and developing the CEA for the future. It is important that the association continues to truly reflect the wishes of all its members and one of her key actions will be to reflect this as part of the ongoing strategy.’

Mr Ross added: ‘Whilst announcing that Suneeta is our new chief executive, I must acknowledge all the efforts and dedication of Rob Oliver, our long-serving chief executive, who has led the CEA over the last two decades and has passionately supported and championed the industry and the needs of all our members. A huge thank you to Rob on behalf of all our members.’

His views were echoed by the chair of the CEA’s management council, Caterpillar UK’s Sam Mottram, who said: ‘Rob has led the association with vigour and diligence for 20 years. While we’ll all be sad to see Rob depart, we are grateful that he has brought that same diligence in the search for his replacement, and it is with great pleasure that today we announce Suneeta Johal as his successor as chief executive.

‘We have been impressed by her energy to take the CEA into a new era with her strong background in association leadership and research, and we’re all tremendously excited to support Suneeta as she begins her new appointment.’

Expressing her excitement about her new role, Ms Johal said: ‘I’m delighted to be joining the CEA as the new chief executive. It has been a tough 18 months for many trade associations and, as we move forward, I hope that my skills and experience can bring a fresh approach to develop the future strategy of the CEA. I am looking forward to building on the successes that Rob has achieved to take the CEA from strength to strength.’

Commenting on his departure, retiring chief executive Rob Oliver said: ‘The original plan was that I should step down a year or so ago, but COVID-19 struck, and I agreed to stay a little longer. Now the time seems right to step aside and let Suneeta bring a fresh, and younger, approach to what is undoubtedly a great job to have.

‘I am pleased that on my watch we were able to grow our membership and international activities and create the Plantworx construction exhibition. More recently, my idea of introducing an emissions compliance verification option to the CESAR scheme is proving to be a winner.’


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