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Board of Directors

Choose a board member on the left to read their profile.

Dr. Patrick O'Brien

Chief Executive Officer

A Chartered Engineer with close to 30 years' oil and gas industry experience, Dr O'Brien started his career in a university spin-out company, MCS, which he helped to lead through successful product commercialisation, international growth and subsequently integration into a large service company. Paddy is a recognised expert in subsea riser mechanics, riser design and flexible pipe technology and has established an international reputation for his contributions to the industry.

In April 2013, Dr O'Brien joined ITF as Chief Executive Officer and is responsible for driving forward ambitious global growth plans and strengthening the development and deployment of innovative technology for the oil and gas industry's most pertinent challenges through collaborative projects between its members.

Dr O'Brien is a Board Member and Director of Subsea UK and is an Honorary Professor at the University of Aberdeen.

Bill Cattanach


Bill is Head of Industry and Technology Development for upstream Oil and Gas. His team sits within DECC`s Licensing and Consents unit and is based in Aberdeen. He is a chartered surveyor and joined the Energy Department some 10 years ago after working in the Scottish Executive's Rural Affairs Department.

In addition to the above the section deals with all supply chain and Technology issues and maintain strong links with Sectoral and Regional trade associations. As part of this Bill sits on the board of ITF, NOF Energy, EEEgr, Subsea UK and Decom North Sea, he is an active member of the Industry Supply Chain forum.

Brian Mercer

Non-executive Director

Since coming into the Oil and Gas Industry some 6 years ago, Brian has held a variety of positions and responsibilities including managing major business units, pursuit management, managing innovation and most recently, establishing and running a consultancy arm of Wood Group PSN. Additionally, he has also been seconded into an operating company as the maintenance, reliability and integrity manager. Prior to joining the company, Brian spent over 20 years in aviation and aeronautical engineering where he held management positions in maintenance, project and programme management, assurance and training, both in the UK and internationally. Brian has a bachelorís degree from Heriot-Watt University, a masterís degree from Kingís College London and is a chartered engineer. He brings a wealth of experience and diversity to the board from operating at senior and strategic levels throughout his career.

Jean-Paul Dessap

Non-executive Director

Jean-Paul has spent the best part of his career with Schlumberger.

A reservoir engineer pursuing a career in technology, he has been exposed to rich experiences in the management of innovation.

He was responsible for the vision, strategy, brand management, pricing and supervision of the product life cycle of Schlumbergerís reservoir simulators. He then moved to an advisory role to help shape long-term strategy for two of Schlumbergerís software portfolios. More recently, as his company broke new ground by introducing an open innovation platform in the industry, he was tasked with conceiving and implementing pioneering engagement processes to foster technological innovation in the ecosystem.

Jean-Paul is currently Business Manager for Reservoir Engineering, North America.

He holds an MSc in Petroleum & Geosystems Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University).

Martin McCormack

Non-executive Director

Max Rowe


Max Rowe is founder and Principal Consultant of Selkie Solutions Ltd. He holds a number of non-executive positions and is an Honorary Professor in the College of Physical Sciences, University of Aberdeen. Following an academic career at Southampton, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, Max spent 22 years working in the upstream oil and gas industry for a major Operator. In 2010 he formed Selkie Solutions Ltd to enable him to take on non-executive and part-time positions and undertake consultancy work. Specific experience includes:

  • R&D and technology management
  • Commercial negotiation and management
  • Business development
  • Quality management
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Strategic Planning, Acquisitions & Economics
  • IT and project management

Max has a BSc(Hons) in Physics from Imperial College, a PhD in Physical Oceanography from University of Southampton, an MBA from Henley Management College/Brunel University. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering Technology, a Member of the Institute of Physics and a Member of the Institute of Directors.

Neil Kavanagh

Non-executive Director

Originating from Leeds, Yorkshire in UK, Neil graduated From University Of Manchester with Honours Degrees in Engineering and Management in 1986.

An International oil and gas career followed working with Shell in various production and engineering roles in North sea, Brunei and Oman in middle east. Subsurface development roles followed in Australia (Melbourne) and later Woodside (Perth) where Neil has been based since 1999 working as Production Technologist, Well Integrity Authority, Completions and Subsea Systems Manager and then Chief Science and Technology Manager.

Passions include deepwater development technology, operational excellence, continuous improvement and bringing cost effective gas development to Australia.

Out of work: Enjoys a weekend organic farm, plays guitar and has four children.

Neil Poxon

Non-executive Director

Neil graduated from Sheffield University in 1988 with an honours degree in Chemical Process Engineering with Fuel Technology.

After university he joined TR Oil Services as the company's first graduate employee. In 1989 TR posted Neil to the Middle East and in 1990 Neil joined Baker Petrolite where he rose to the position of Middle East District Manager, before leaving to become Middle East Regional Manager for Champion Technologies.

In 2000 Neil returned to the UK as Regional Manager of CETCO Oilfield Services. As the only UK based employee Neil was tasked with launching and developing the business in the UK, as well as creating a wider Eastern Hemisphere market for the US based company.

In 2006 CETCO Oilfield Services had 42 people based at its regional HQ in Aberdeen servicing clients in the UK, Norway, Kazakhstan, Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific Regions.

In June 2006 Neil was appointed as Managing Director of ITF. During his six years at ITF, Neil was responsible for bringing a global vision to the organisation, successfully creating and delivering a service company engagement programme, increasing ITF membership by more than 50% and pro-actively ensure ITF effectively delivers its members technology needs.

In October 2012 Neil returned to the front line of technology development, taking up the position of CEO at PWAbsorbents Inc, a small technology company based in Ohio, USA that specialises in treating produced water and flowback fluids for discharge.

Steve Garrett

Non-executive Director

Steve Garrett is currently Manager of Chevron's UK Global Technology Centre (GTC) in Aberdeen, Scotland. The UK GTC provides multi-functional support for major projects worldwide.

Following a BSc in Geology from University of Bristol (1980) and an MSc in Applied Geophysics from the University of Birmingham (1981), Steve joined the British Antarctic Survey to lead three seasons of fieldwork investigating the crustal structure of the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica, leading to a PhD (1987). He joined Chevron in exploration in London, with further assignments in Calgary, Southern California (twice) and Aberdeen (twice). Most of his energy industry work has involved leading teams applying technology in field development and reservoir management for gas, water flood and heavy oil steam flood fields in NW Europe and North America, together with people development for earth scientists in Chevron.

Steve has published over 20 papers on geophysics, tectonics, earth modeling, regional stratigraphy and reservoir characterisation. He was the first Vice-President of the gOcad research consortium at the start of successful commercialisation of this modeling environment. He was quoted by the New York Times in the 2007 article on the application of technology to sustain production from mature fields. He is a director of the Centre for Research into Earth Energy Systems (CeREES) at Durham University, and is 2011 President of the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB).

Tom Tilton

Non-executive Director

ITF is a relatively small not-for-profit organisation that serves its members. The Board will therefore comprise a few executive Directors and a majority of non-executive Directors who together bring relevant skills and experience in the following areas:

Selection of Board members is based on maintaining a balance of these skills. Non-executive Directors will often be from current or recent Member companies' employees and current or recent employees of developers. All Directors act as individuals rather than as representatives of any group or organisation and have a duty to execute their duties in the best interests of ITF.

It is recognised that current and recent employees of member companies and developers will usually not fulfil the requirements of independence set out in the UK Corporate Governance Code. However the Board are not involved in the selection of joint industry projects to be supported (this is the decision of individual members). Accordingly it is believed that the above selection criteria will ensure the most effective governance of the company. To further ensure the avoidance of actual or potential conflicts of interest, the Board will:

  1. Seek to have some Directors with a greater degree of independence
  2. Avoid situations where a Director is also the ITF Member company representative
  3. Rigorously declare and consider all potential conflicts of interest and avoid situations where such conflicts could affect the judgement of the Board