Executive team

Justin Blades

Justin BladesJustin Blades is currently Acting Chief Executive.

Justin joined IChemE in January 2005 and is currently Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, having previously fulfilled the roles of Marketing and Membership Development Manager and Director of Regional Groups and Membership Support.

After leading the successful introduction of initiatives including "Get Chartered" and "On Campus", Justin became responsible for accredited company training schemes (ACTS), training solutions and support for UK Regional Member Groups.  Most recently, Justin extended his remit to include Member Services and IT line management.

A Marketing and Management graduate, Justin's business career spans a numver of vertical industries, commercial and not-for-profit sectors.

An experienced skier and qualified diver, Justin enjoys his spare time on the adrenalin charged black runs of Whistler or swimming with the fishes int he warmer climes of the Caribbean.


Peter Slane

Peter SlanePeter joined IChemE in 2012 as Director Australasia to oversee the operations of both the Australian and New Zealand offices.

After graduating as a chemical engineer from Auckland University, New Zealand, Peter headed to Australia where he has since gathered over 30 years industry and technical experience, after having worked with government and public entities on projects such as recycling initiatives and conversion of a waste stream into a valuable saleable product. 

Prior to joining IChemE, Peter spent over 20 years at Qenos  (and its antecedent companies), Australia’s sole manufacturer and leading supplier of polyethylene and polymers.  During this time, he held several high-level senior management positions and up until recently, was the senior business unit manager that looked after the strategy and management of its specialities business unit.

Peter is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of IChemE.


Neil Atkinson

Neil AtkinsonNeil joined IChemE as Director of Qualifications and International Development of IChemE in 2004.

Neil graduated in chemical engineering from Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London, then moved to Brussels to begin his international career.

He spent 21 years with Procter and Gamble working in many global business sectors. Neil has considerable experience of new product development and, latterly, was responsible for product launches of global brands such as the Hugo Boss fragrances and Olay cosmetic skincare businesses. 

In his IChemE roles Neil leads all professional qualifications activities of  the institution. This encompasses leadership for accreditation of university degrees, accreditation of company professional development schemes, as well as the management and regulation of professional registration of chemical engineers worldwide. Most recently this has included important initiatives in the field of Process Safety.

In addition Neil leads IChemE’s international development, having established IChemE’s office in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Wellington (NZ) and is engaged with developing the profession worldwide, leading IChemE activities in India, Middle East, South Africa and elsewhere. 

Neil is a Chartered Engineer and a Chartered Scientist. He is a Fellow of IChemE and HonFellow of the Society for the Environment



Jo Downham

Jo DownhamJo joined IChemE as a trainee management accountant in 1998 having graduated in European Finance and Accounting from Leeds Metropolitan University and the Hochschule Bremen in Germany.

On joining IChemE, Jo studied for the CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) qualification, which she completed and qualified in 2005. She subsequently went on to study for the ICSA (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators) qualification and became Chartered in 2014.

Jo became Finance Manager in 2003. In 2009 she was appointed as Finance & Business Director, heading up the Finance, HR and Facilities Management functions of IChemE in the UK and its international branches. Other areas of responsibility include governance, legal, and maintenance of IChemE’s risk register.

Jo is the secretary of IChemE’s staff pension scheme, the Chemical Engineers’ Benevolent Fund and IChemE’s trading subsidiary IChemE Ltd.

In addition, through her work with IChemE, Jo is currently serving as the Honorary Treasurer for Engineers’ Against Poverty and sits on the Disciplinary Committee for the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Claudia Flavell-While

Claudia Flavell-WhileClaudia joined IChemE in 2001, initially as Senior Reporter on the Institution’s monthly magazine, tce. A few years later, she was promoted to Editor of tce, and in 2008 took on wider responsibility for all of IChemE’s publications, including the institution’s four journals and the Loss Prevention Bulletin.

Born and raised in an Anglo-German household in southern Germany, Claudia came to the UK in the early 1990s to attend university.

She spent several fun years trying to square the circle of completing a demanding science degree without disgracing herself while making the most of the student lifestyle – fortunately not an impossible task.

Her career then took her to the internationally renowned chemicals business magazine Chemical Week, where she spent three years before making the move to IChemE’s offices in Rugby.

tce has been transformed and rejuvenated under her leadership, with a fresh new look, new sections and approachable style making it a very popular read amongst IChemE’s membership, and a valued source of income for the Institution.


Andrew Furlong

Andrew FurlongAndrew joined IChemE in the role of Head of External Relations in 1999 after fourteen years spent in manufacturing industry, first in the paint and surface coatings sector and then in food manufacturing and distribution.

He graduated in Applied Chemistry from Brunel University in 1983 before serving for two years as the elected Student Union Vice President with responsibility for external relations. Andrew contested the UK parliamentary elections in 1997 and 2001.

Andrew project managed the successful 7th World Congress of Chemical Engineering in 2005 and has been closely involved in the delivery of several major IChemE initiatives including the Technical Strategy Roadmap and Jubilee initiative in 2007. His team runs a range of successful international technical conferences and events involving leading speakers from the world of business, science and politics.

He remains convinced that chemical engineers are pivotal to building a prosperous, cleaner, safer more sustainable society and directs his efforts to putting this message across to a wider audience.

Andrew is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a Member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. He lives in Leicestershire with his wife Sarah and daughter Rebecca.  In his spare time he follows football, rugby union, motorcycle road racing and noisy guitar bands.


Bakhtiar Talhah

Bakhtiar TalhahBakhtiar joined IChemE in 2015 as the Director - South East Asia and is based in Kuala Lumpur.   He has more than 15 years industry experience in the downstream oil sector and has gained significant experience with energy consultancies in undertaking market analysis for crude oil and refined products, including trade, commercial and logistics studies within and outside the region.

Prior to joining IChemE, Bakhtiar was with Nexant and PFC Energy having worked in Paris and Kuala Lumpur, and had previously worked for PETRONAS at the Kerteh and Melaka refineries and in international business development.  In addition, he served as the Executive Director of the Malaysian AIDS Foundation for several years.

Bakhtiar graduated from Princeton University in Chemistry and Environmental Studies, and from the Universite Paris-Sorbonne in French Literature.  An experienced diver, Bakhtiar spends too much time in the islands around South East Asia.

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).