MEMBER NEWS: Global Underwater Hub appoints its first chair

September 6, 2021
MEMBER NEWS: Global Underwater Hub appoints its first chair

Courtesy of Offshore Engineer.

Global Underwater Hub, a newly formed UK-based subsea industry organization, has appointed Andrew Hodgson, a former CEO of Tyneside-based subsea engineering firm Soil Machine Dynamics, as its first chair.

Hodgson will take up the role as the well-known subsea industry body Subsea UK transitions into GUH, a new strategically-focused organization that promises to transform the UK’s £8bn underwater industry “into one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the country, generating £45bn in revenues by 2035.”

This will accelerate the drive to net-zero and create high value sustainable jobs and exports, the organization said.

“The GUH will harness opportunities in a rapidly-growing global market, create a step-change in the growth and internationalization of UK underwater expertise, technologies, services, and skills and drive innovation to accelerate the energy transition,” the organization said.

Hodgson has been described as ” a recognized strategic business leader, with a reputation for delivery in periods of significant organizational change and brings a wealth of corporate, private and public sector experience to the GUH which will be crucial in this formative period.”

“His career has spanned international technology, engineering and manufacturing, built on a sound financial background. His significant board experience includes nine years as chair and vice-chair of the North East (of England) Local Enterprise Partnership. He has won a number of business accolades, including the Queen’s Award for Industry three times, and was awarded an OBE in 2015 for Services to Manufacturing and the North East of England Economy,” the organization said, announcing the appointment of Andrew Hodgson as GUH’s first chair.

Through an injection of £13 million from the UK and Scottish Governments, Subsea UK will transition into the GUH with the launch and official opening planned for later this year.

Hodgson successfully diversified SMD, a supplier of ROVs for the subsea sector, from an almost 80% oil and gas focus to more than 80% revenues in other sectors whilst significantly growing the business, during his nine-year tenure as chief executive.

Hodgson says he understands the challenges of both organisations and sectors in transition.

“The underwater industry in the UK is strategically important, as evidenced by government support for the Global Underwater Hub. With a rapidly growing global market and a world-leading position, the industry has the potential to grow exponentially, helping achieve net-zero and creating new, high-value jobs and exports.

“We want to see the UK continuing to lead the way around the world and capturing a larger share of the opportunities in the blue economy by addressing the challenges for our future generations, whether that be reversing climate change, husbanding our mineral resources or monitoring and safeguarding our ocean environments.”

“The biggest challenge we face, but also the greatest opportunity, will come from cross-sector collaboration. The GUH will be uniquely positioned to connect the different institutions and companies with the market opportunity to deliver the underwater solutions of the future.

“It will be incumbent upon us to make sure that sectors such as defense, offshore renewables, and oil and gas all work together, collectively furthering their knowledge and improving their global offering.

“We have major strengths in each of those spaces with world-leading technology and expertise. The world is demanding change and, in helping bring that about, we can gain an economic advantage not just for the industry but for the country as a whole. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be part of that and I am thrilled to be steering this new organisation in meeting its ambitious objectives and delivering transformational change.”

Read the article in Offshore Engineer here.

Get in touch

AREG is the original energy transition organisation, working on behalf of members to empower the energy supply chain and champion its expertise. Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to find out more about membership.

AREG has played an important role in the growth of Scotland’s renewable energy sector, engaging the supply chain and developing the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. However, we are only at the very beginning of the transition that AREG was established to both lead and support so there are still opportunities for companies to get into the constantly evolving renewables supply chain. We look forward to continuing our work together as renewables builds on its place as Scotland’s main source of power, and as we seek to deliver real change in the crucial areas of heat and transport.

Scottish Renewables

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce has worked closely with AREG since its formation. The recent progress in the developments of offshore wind projects by Equinor and Vattenfall are as a result of the work of the group over many years. The north-east is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe. At the Chamber, we believe the region must evolve its position to being recognised as the energy capital. Whilst hydrocarbons will continue to be essential in driving our economy for years to come, the generation of renewable resources will play an increasingly important role in providing cost-effective power, innovative development and economic growth.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

The enthusiasm and dedication of the early group that would become AREG was fundamental in us choosing to launch All-Energy in Aberdeen. The first tiny show was held in 2001, and AREG’s Chairman at the time, Jeremy Cresswell, played such an active role that I often describe him in terms such as All-Energy’s ‘midwife’. All-Energy is now the UK’s largest renewable and low carbon energy exhibition and conference in terms of number of attendees, space booked, and number of exhibiting companies. As AREG became firmly established, their presence and support for the event grew spectacularly over the years. We thank them most sincerely for their invaluable input.


Vattenfall has forged a strong working relationship with AREG through the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. AREG has worked tirelessly on behalf of the North East and it can take enormous credit for the growth of sustainable energy in the region and the path it has cleared for the region to capture further investment.


Aberdeen City and Shire is emerging as a key location for renewables by successfully transferring its world-class oil and gas expertise into the sector and AREG has done much to advance this through a broad range of initiatives. It has acted as a catalyst in driving further investment in the local economy by engaging with companies, Government, public bodies and existing projects and we have been pleased to support their efforts. Scottish Enterprise will continue to engage with AREG as we increase Scotland’s use of renewable energy.

Scottish Enterprise