Des Balmforth is VP Airborne AESA Radar for the Airborne and Space Systems Division of Leonardo, a global high-tech company and a key player in aerospace, defence and security. He is responsible for a significant business sector delivering Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars for use in surveillance and fighter aircraft applications. Des has a breadth of experience in Programme Management and Procurement over a wide range of aerospace and defence products, customers and cultures.
He has a keen interest in understanding how the people management and leadership aspects of management contribute to business success and is has led change programmes in areas such as; procurement and supplier strategy and policy, improving operational effectiveness and value, and product delivery and strategy. He has also led large programmes, such as for the development of the radar for the Swedish Gripen NG fighter, a collaborative venture between Leonardo and SAAB.
Des graduated with Distinction from the University of Strathclyde in 1997 with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering with Financial Management and this combination of finance and engineering has proven invaluable in business. He is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Association of Project Managers.
Des lives in Edinburgh and is married with 2 children. His main interest is sailing, racing at local level in the Clyde as well as family holidays around the west coast of Scotland and Ireland. Windsurfing, cycling and snowboarding are also favourites.