Bill Williams, CEME CEO

CEME CEO, Bill Williams leaves CEME after 15 years of service


After 15 years as the Chief Executive for CEME (Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence), Bill Williams has resigned and will be stepping down from his role in January 2022.


Bill has led CEME as its Chief Executive since 2007. CEME is a leading UK industrial institution based in East London devoted to supporting the UK Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology sectors. Amongst other things CEME is home to over 100 technology organisations in the early stage growth and/or scale up phase.

It’s no wonder that Bill is an advocate for apprenticeships given that his own career began with an engineering apprenticeship 35 years ago. Moving up the ranks in sales, marketing and latterly strategy within the engineering and manufacturing sectors he later became a board member and Head of Strategy for Group Lotus a leading car and automotive engineering group.

Bill started his journey with CEME in 2007, joining as CEO when the company needed a strong new direction in order to overcome a very challenging period. He said of his decision to take on the role at CEME, “I thought it was a phenomenal concept and such an ambitious project for British Manufacturing, that I couldn’t say no.”

CEME was and remains an ambitious regeneration project aiming to transform the manufacturing industry in the south east, changing lives through business growth. At that time many manufacturing and engineering organisations in the South East were already struggling to find the right talent, skills and knowledge for the sector, so the vision was to create a facility that would be both an education facility and a science park, which had never been done before. However, by 2007 it had become clear that without a new direction, CEME would not survive. Bill came on board at a time when there was a need and pressure to create some much-needed stability at CEME quickly.

Under Bill’s leadership, the company has gone from strength to strength – from concerns for CEME’s survival when he first took on the challenge of turning our fortunes around back in 2007, to now being recognised as a leader in its field.

‘What I love most about being a CEO is you’re there to serve the company and serve the employees. That’s a huge privilege and responsibility and there’s a great sense of purpose in that.’ Bill Williams, CEO, CEME.

Whilst CEO of CEME, Bill oversaw the establishment of both HSSMI (The High-Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute) and ELUTEC (East London University Technical College). HSSMI is a sustainable manufacturing consultancy that now has offices in London, Coventry and Glasgow, employing over 60 people.

ELUTEC is a University Technical College that, in partnership with UCL and Ford, CEME developed and now offers its students an exciting new engineering and product design curriculum in East London.

Bill led CEME through the global financial crisis of 2007/8 and again recently through what has been an unpredictable couple of years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. With one of CEME’s key income streams being from customers in office and workshop space, covid-19 could have spelled disaster however CEME has, through working closely with its customers managed to deliver continued success during this period.

One of Bill’s greatest contributions to CEME was to bring about an entire culture shift in how the organisation saw itself and behaved. Bill recognised that in order for CEME to work, CEME would need to see and present itself as a high-end service provider with exceptional customer service. To this aim, CEME conducted a year of workshops with everyone from customers and staff to stakeholders and external shareholders to develop the CEME Values – Positive Attitude, Presentation, and Exceeding Expectations. These values were to be the cornerstone of CEME’s company culture and marked a defining shift in the fortunes of the organisation and its customers.

Bill recognises the contribution the company’s board has also made to the success of CEME stating “This board have taken and continue to take a leading role in the strategy. They are passionate about CEME and have an aspiration and ambition for CEME to excel. They challenge where necessary and are always pushing for new impact and new developments.”

‘The Trustees thank Bill for his wonderful contribution to CEME’s success over the last 15 years, and look forward to delivering even greater social impact and fresh business opportunities under new leadership.’ Valerie Owen, OBE, CEME Chair.

Most of all though he pays tribute to the “incredible CEME employees” and its customers. “I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing people, all fully committed to the CEME project and ambitions without whom the progress that CEME has made simply would not have happened.”


As Bill leaves us he would like to impart some of the knowledge he’s gained about leadership along the way so we will be holding a special one-off talk where Bill will share some valuable advice from his experience as a long-standing CEO. Whether you’re already in a position of leadership, or you aspire to be, this is a talk not to be missed!

This event is free to attend but you must RSVP: Leadership Talk: Bill Williams on Lessons Learned from 17 years as CEO Tickets, Wed 12 Jan 2022 at 16:00 | Eventbrite

Leadership talk event east London Essex Rainham business support event CEME-CEO-Bill-Williams-Leadership-Lessons-Learned-from-17-years-as-CEO