Barry Lavery accelerates strategic growth at Xynteo

This summer, corporate strategist and business leader, Barry Lavery, joined Xynteo’s London team.

With a background in engineering, environmental sciences and international business strategy, Barry has spent the last nine years with Aker Solutions where he most recently focused on corporate strategy for the company’s transformation into low carbon & renewables.

Having grown up in South Africa, Barry has since lived in five countries and thrives in international settings. He has spent a lot of his career developing partnerships to deliver successful outcomes, which have often spanned the cultural divide.  Barry is most driven by long-term thinking and creating ambitious yet pragmatic solutions that solve real life challenges.

We are so excited to have Barry as a part of our Xynteo family, supporting our teams, clients and partners in reinventing growth.

Get to know what drives Barry, his vision for the future and what he thinks is necessary to reinvent growth in a post-Covid world:

  • You joined Xynteo at a very unique time – how do you think this will shape your work here?

Many of my friends and colleagues were surprised I was making a move in such a challenging time, and there was a lot of uncertainty about what was in store. But at the same time, I can’t think of a more exciting time to have joined Xynteo. This pandemic has revealed all the issues that businesses and society have been wallpapering over for so long. Our collective responsibility to create a more sustainable world can no longer be overlooked. Not only is this what is needed, but it’s also the core of what Xynteo is helping to solve.

  • At Xynteo our mission is to reinvent growth. What is your mission, and what drives you to reinvent growth?

I remember as a young boy, I was drawing pictures of what I wanted to be when I grew up. The drawings were mostly of me on a Greenpeace boat, saving the whales. This desire to be a custodian for the environment was engrained in me as our family spent every moment in nature. But at the same time, I saw the enormous disparity that a systemic or economic model could have on prosperity, having grown up in South Africa.

For me, the combination of science, the environment and business has always been one of the most powerful forces of change. It’s the reason that I, as an environmental geologist, joined an oil and gas firm. It gave me an opportunity to work on the energy transition from the inside. And now with two daughters, the stakes are higher – I want to have a much wider impact and help as many companies as I can make a similar transition.

  • From the lens of business strategy and innovation – what do you think is the main barrier in the energy transition, and what do you think is key in overcoming this?

As a system, the energy sector, policies and behaviours have been stable for so long. And while the EU is leading the charge with its Green Recovery deal, 47% of Covid-19 stimulus plans across the G-20 (responsible for 85% of GHG emissions) will support fossil fuels, while only 39% is being directed to green energy. However, oil and gas companies can be a source of funding, investment and technology for clean energy. Take Ørsted for example, the world’s most sustainable energy firm in the world in 2020, that reinvested its oil and gas legacy for a renewable future. For these companies to be a credible ally through the energy transition, they will need to be increasingly transparent about their investment plans towards different forms of energy.  

I believe that our energy system is likely to be a hybrid one - no single source will dominate. In order to decarbonise, several technologies and industries will need to work together. How will we be able to integrate energy production, with storage, efficiency and end-usage, given that 55% of carbon emissions come from transport, industry and buildings, and not energy production?

When you are not busy leading projects on sustainability and the energy transition, what will you be focusing your time on?

Scuba diving is my absolute pleasure, and I cannot wait to get into the warm deep blue sea when travel becomes a bit more reasonable. Other than that, you will find me with my two young daughters – either getting my fingernails painted pink, or me teaching them how to build the best campfire on our latest camping adventure in the woods.

Barry will be working on our Transformation projects, which you can read more about here. You can also connect with Barry to get his views on building successful businesses partnerships, sustainability and the energy transition, or how to reinvent growth.