IPMA International Project Management Association
21 June 2021 / 3:00

IPMA and UCL launch The Megaproject CEO Global Keynotes

The International Project Management Association (IPMA) and the Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction (UCL) have launched the IPMA-UCL Megaproject CEO, a series of global keynotes from leaders delivering megaprojects around the world.

Coordinated by UCL’s Dr. Juliano Denicol, Global Head of the IPMA Megaprojects SIG, the IPMA-UCL Megaproject CEO will invite a stellar group of leaders that are at the forefront of megaproject delivery practices. The Megaproject CEO builds upon the growing interest in leadership practices and recent research that recommends an emphasis on building and leading collaborations to advance our understanding of megaproject delivery.

The global keynotes will bring together 12 CEOs across two years to share some of the most advanced practices that are influencing the delivery of megaprojects around the world. Each keynote will feature one megaproject and explore how the CEO inspired teams through practices from their successful trajectory in managing complex projects globally.

Dr. Juliano Denicol commented: “I’m delighted to announce this partnership between UCL and IPMA and to launch The Megaproject CEO Global Keynotes. We will invite influential megaproject CEOs to share their management and leadership practices, creating a legacy of strategies at the C-Suite level over the next years. I’m delighted to welcome Mark Thurston as our inaugural CEO, who is leading a fantastic team and several strategic initiatives to deliver High Speed 2, the biggest megaproject in Europe.”

Dr. Mladen Vukomanović, IPMA Vice President said: “I’m happy to have this long-term partnership agreed between IPMA and University College of London (UCL). This cooperation will provide global coverage of the best practices in megaproject management. The Megaproject CEO Global Keynotes series will demonstrate the value that project managers bring to society and will show the true responsibility of Project Professionals. Therefore, top Megaproject CEOs will share their leadership insights, creating a legacy for the project profession. We are all delighted that the first in the series is Mark Thurston, of High Speed 2, the biggest megaproject in Europe.

Register here for Mark’s keynote on the 1st of July at 1 pm.


Megaproject CEOs are experienced individuals with several decades of work dedicated to challenging projects, including previous exposure to different levels of complexity. Megaproject CEOs need to have the ability to challenge the practices at all levels based on their previous experience, managing expectations of different actors within and increasingly outside the project landscape.

The global keynotes will go beyond the technical complexity of megaprojects, exploring the characteristics of the organisations that design and coordinate the relationships with a large supply chain of partners. Megaproject CEOs are strategists with a vision to transform the organisational environment of megaprojects. These leaders are architects of collaboration and designers of multiple teams that cut the boundaries of many organisations.

The leaders will provide insights on the challenges of acting as the CEO of temporary organisations, where there is a constantly evolving system with many dimensions affecting the project. The leadership ingredients to develop the individual and collective ability to navigate different environments, from the technical and commercial to the political and environmental.

The CEOs will reflect on the nature of the industry going forward and how megaprojects can contribute to advance the project management profession. The trends that are shaping how megaprojects are delivered around the world and the potential disruptive practices that will transform the megaproject management world. A journey through the most urgent topics affecting our societies, such as the implications of delivering megaprojects in the context of climate change, the exponential role of digitalisation, and cyber-security challenges.

The global keynotes are designed to create a rich database of reflections to inspire future generations of project managers, directors, and CEOs. The inter-organisational enablers of megaprojects, the thinking behind the structures, the minds behind a team of strategists that are designing the solutions to move the megaproject and often the industry forward. All these perspectives and questions will inform our discussions with the minds leading mega projects in different continents.

Dr. Juliano Denicol
Global Head IPMA Megaprojects SIG
University College London




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Author of this post

Dr Juliano Denicol is the Global Head of the IPMA Megaprojects SIG, a global platform to advance our understanding of megaproject delivery. Dr Denicol is Lecturer in Project Management at the School of Construction and Project Management, the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL. He is a member of Project X, a major research network that aims to improve major project delivery in the UK, established by nine universities in collaboration with the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), and the Cabinet Office. Dr Denicol has worked as a supply chain management consultant at High Speed 2, the largest infrastructure project in Europe, and advisor to the European Commission on public procurement policies.

His work on megaprojects has been regarded of high global impact, receiving several research awards, including the prestigious IPMA Global Young Researcher Award in 2019. Previous research included several iconic UK megaprojects: High Speed 1, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, London 2012 Olympics, Crossrail, Thames Tideway Tunnel, and High Speed 2.

Dr Denicol has led the publication of two large-scale reviews of major and megaprojects:

1. A systematic literature review of megaproject performance, where 6.007 papers were analysed to identify 18 causes of poor performance and 54 solutions.

2. The Compendium of Large Infrastructure Projects for the European Commission, analysing the procurement procedures in over 80 large infrastructure projects across the European Union from 2008 to 2018.