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Populous Strengthens Leadership Team with New Chief People Officer


Populous, a worldwide design and architecture firm that has delivered many groundbreaking eco-friendly structures, has sought to strengthen its management corps recently. The firm has publicly declared development of a new position of Chief People Officer and appointment of Kristin Gibbar to this position. Moreover, out of the three, three of the regional board members have just been elevated to the Global Holdings Board of the company and as part of its strategic direction, the company aims to develop its talent and grow. 

Kristin Gibbar, an experienced HR professional, will be appointed as Chief People Officer and will come to the Populous as a senior principal of the firm in the Americas Headquarters in Kansas City. Gibbar has rich experience in the varied organizational positions she has worked in, for instance, Chief Human Resources Officer and Global HR Director for Black & Veatch, Amazon, and Sun Microsystems. 

Earl Santee, Populous’ founder, Chair, and CEO, expressed enthusiasm about Gibbar’s appointment, stating, “As our business and the range of services we can offer to clients continue to expand, our staff growth has also increased steadily. We are now at over 1,200 staff across 29 offices worldwide, so our ability to drive a global people strategy and programs has become increasingly important.” 

Santee further elaborated, “Kristin’s appointment to this new global position will allow us to create consistency and harmonization in roles, further foster leadership and career development at a pan-regional level, and strategically enhance workforce mobility, performance management, and overall talent management across our regions.” 

Besides the Chief People Officer position, Populous has also centralized and leveled up three of its regional board members to the Global Holdings Board due to their great leadership and extensive project management across the company. 

Among the promoted employees there is Declan Sharkey, who is a Senior Principal and Regional Board member in EMEA region, and he was appointed to the Global Holdings Board. To date, Sharkey has served as a consultant on incredibly diverse contemporary projects in Europe with multiple current stadium projects in Italy and arena projects in Munich, Cardiff, and Cork, as well as the recently completed Co-op Live Manchester, the largest and most sustainable arena in the UK and Europe. 

Another new member on the renewed list is Scott Capstack who works as the Senior Principal and Design Director in the Americas region and has been appointed to the Global Holdings Board as well. Services provided by Capstack are coordination of the regional design process while offering valuable experience and information on trends and advancements in the different building sector types. Some of his work venues have been NFL teams, MLS, convention facilities, collegiate and university athletic departments, and other organizations on for instance Los Angeles Convention Center, Gillette Stadium and Levi’s Stadium. 

The third member of the Global Holdings Board is Brett Wightman serving as a Senior Principle based in the APAC region. Currently leading Populous’ office in Singapore, Wightman specializes in sports, entertainment, and aviation projects in the region with many high-profile projects. Some of his outstanding achievements are Kansai Airport in Osaka Japan and KL Sports City in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and The Londoner Arena Macao and Kai-Tak Sports Park Hong Kong upcoming project. 

These strategic appointments and promotions are evidence of the firm’s dedication to developing talent, strengthening the organization’s leadership bench, and expanding the company’s international reach. Kristin Gibbar being appointed as Chief People Officer and the promotion of Declan Sharkey, Scott Capstack, and Brett Wightman to the Global Holdings Board has placed the firm at an excellent place to continue dominating the architecture and design market by partnering with and providing creative and sustainable design solutions to enhance customers’ experiences and places globally.