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Leadership Transition Announced by Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Board Chairman Steve Watts to pass the mantle to Shonn Mills

Chicago, Sept. 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) announced today a pivotal transition in its leadership: Board Chairman Steve Watts will be succeeded by Shonn Mills, a board member since 2020. The changeover, which will be formalized at the board of trustees meeting at the CTBUH 2023 international conference, October 16–21, in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, exemplifies the organization's commitment to advancing innovation and expertise within the multi-disciplinary realm of sustainable vertical urbanism and marks the beginning of a vibrant new era for the organization.

During Watts’ tenure as chairman, his strategic acumen, dedication and proactive approach have propelled the organization to new heights: he has marshaled the organization through a period of remarkable growth that has resulted in expanded and strengthened partnerships with global architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) companies; ramped up research initiatives; and vigorous advocacy for the cause of sustainable and resilient urban landscapes across the globe.

"I am both honored and humbled by the tremendous strides CTBUH has made in so many arenas during my time as board chairman," said Watts. “The organization has become a leading proponent in the evolving discourse on mass-timber construction in high-rise buildings, amassed extraordinary proficiency and clout on skyscraper data collection—and, more importantly, the insight it provides—and grown into an authoritative forum for the critical discussions on sustainability, decarbonization and smart density for cities worldwide. I am relishing this next chapter, as deputy chairman, supporting Shonn Mills and organizational leaders in delivering a revitalized vision—one that gives CTBUH an even greater voice in helping our communities address the key challenges of creating sustainable buildings and cities—and harnessing the incredible talent that we have at our disposal.”

A former partner at alinea, and now director at London-based Turner & Townsend alinea, Watts has more than 35 years of experience as a cost consultant in the AEC industry and is a recognized expert on the economics of tall buildings. He has worked with many industry-leading developers and top designers on challenging projects, including high-profile and award-winning towers such as the Leadenhall Building, the Shard and 22 Bishopsgate, in London, as well as numerous international projects. Watts has been an active member of CTBUH for over 15 years, a trustee for 12 years and its chairman for six years. He is a longstanding and passionate advocate for research, contributing to CTBUH’s widespread thought leadership throughout his engagement. (Read Watts’ full bio here.) He will remain an active member of the CTBUH board of trustees.

“I’m excited to pass the mantle and wholeheartedly support Shonn Mills' vision and ambitions for CTBUH,” continued Watts. “Under his stewardship, the organization is well-situated to continue shaping better, healthier and more equitable urban environments globally.”

A long-standing champion of trailblazing design and innovation, Mills has been active with CTBUH for more than a decade. His reputation for delivering thought-provoking insights, forward-looking strategies and measurable results is evident in many of the organization's initiatives; he has helped spearhead multiple international conferences and co-authored the CTBUH publication “Smart Technology for Tall Buildings.”

“Steve Watts’ chairmanship represents an apex in the history of CTBUH,” explained Mills. “Under his leadership, I’ve witnessed firsthand a remarkable transformation in the organization’s intensity, productivity and significance—during a global pandemic no less—and he will leave an indelible mark on the organization’s rich legacy.”

Mills, who began his career as a bridge designer, working on several long-span bridges in California and the West Coast of the United States, has more than 30 years of experience in the design and management of large-scale building and transport infrastructure projects. After relocating to London in 2007, his focus shifted to building engineering, which involved a wide range of long-span projects, such as stadiums, airports and metro stations, in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. This led to designing complex, multi-discipline building structures, including high-rise buildings. (Read Mills’ full bio here.)

“I am deeply honored and privileged to assume the role of CTBUH board chairman and work with such an esteemed cohort of professionals—fellow trustees, staff, members and other global partners—all with industry-leading experience and expertise,” added Mills. “We are at a pivotal moment, not only for the organization but for the future of built environments worldwide. CTBUH plays an integral role in driving public debate and sharing best-practice thinking on sustainable vertical urbanism. The challenges and opportunities facing our cities today are shifting continually and rapidly, and I am committed to steering CTBUH toward becoming an activist organization that offers science-based solutions that yield a positive impact.”

Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to smarter, more sustainable cities and a more viable future for global populations.  
Specifically, CTBUH focuses on the critical role of density in addressing climate change. CTBUH is headquartered in Chicago and has offices in Shanghai, China, and Venice, Italy. CTBUH’s worldwide membership network includes companies from fields such as real estate development, architecture, engineering, cost consulting, building management and construction, among others. In addition to hosting leading industry events, CTBUH produces research and reporting on issues of significant consequence to its membership. Its most utilized asset is its building database, a compendium of detailed data, images and technical information on more than 30,000 tall buildings throughout the world. CTBUH is best known to the public as the arbiter of tall building height and the global authority that bestows titles such as “The World’s Tallest Building.” For more information, please visit

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CONTACT: Charles Mutscheller The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat