Bob Pragada took the reins of leadership Tuesday as CEO of Dallas-based Jacobs, one of the largest professional services companies in the world.
Following its leadership succession plan announced in September, Pragada also is expected to join the company’s board of directors upon certification of the results of its annual meeting.
He succeeds Steve Demetriou who will serve as executive chair for a minimum of two years, the company said, working as a member of the board advising Pragada on strategic and capital deployment initiatives. Demetriou will provide executive sponsorship for several key client engagements and ongoing culture initiatives and will also continue as a board member of PA Consulting.
Pragada brings more than 30 years of global business leadership and military experience to Jacobs as CEO, including 17 years with the company and nine years as a Civil Engineer Corps and Seabees officer with the U.S. Navy.
“It is an exciting time for Jacobs,” Pragada said in a statement. “Concentrating our strategy accelerators around climate response, data solutions, and consulting and advisory services, we’re anticipating the global trends most important to our clients to develop differentiated, data-enabled solutions that meet their needs. I am honored to take on the role of CEO and advance the compelling work underway to further diversify our capabilities and offerings, increasing opportunities and value for our people, our clients and our shareholders alike.”
First veteran and first Indian American to serve as CEO of Jacobs
Pragada served as a facilities director at Camp David during the Clinton administration and is the second Indian American to graduate from the United States Naval Academy, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He is the first Indian American, veteran, and person of color appointed as CEO of Jacobs.
The company said that Pragada is focused on continuing Jacobs’ efforts to align its portfolio to attractive, high-growth sectors – specifically in the areas of water infrastructure, environmental resiliency, energy transition, EV, life sciences, and semiconductor manufacturing – leveraging the company’s deep domain experience and unique capabilities to create a more connected, sustainable world.
He joined Jacobs in 2006 and has held several senior management positions over eight years, including senior vice president, global sales; group vice president, Northern Region (United States and the Republic of Ireland); and vice president, field services. He returned to Jacobs in 2016 as President of the global Industrial and Buildings & Infrastructure lines of business and led the successful integration of CH2M, a $5 billion diversified technical services leader in infrastructure, water, environmental, and nuclear sectors. He was also instrumental in Jacobs’ strategic majority investment in PA Consulting, a multi-billion-dollar world-leading digital consulting firm, where he now serves as a Board member.
Pragada was appointed president and chief operating officer of Jacobs in 2019, providing executive oversight of all global operations, driving impressive profitable growth across Jacobs’ Critical Mission Solutions and People & Places Solutions lines of business.
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