Marking its 40th anniversary, Bentley Systems announces CEO transition plan

From 1 Jul 2024, infrastructure engineering software company Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley will transition to executive chair of its board of directors. Current COO Nicholas Cumins will then be promoted to CEO, and be proposed to join the board of directors.

The announcement was made during the opening event for Bentley Systems’ new UK HQ in London, beginning the observance of the company’s 40th anniversary.

Nicholas Cumins, current COO, Bentley Systems

Nicholas Cumins, CEO designate

Cumins has served as the group’s COO since January 2022. He joined Bentley Systems as chief product officer in September 2020 prior to the company’s initial public offering (IPO).

“The company has been founder- and family-led throughout those four decades. Greg has presided over an extraordinary legacy of long-term growth, sustained innovation, and value creation inspired by a commitment to advancing the world’s infrastructure for better quality of life,” Cumins said.

“I am honoured to have been selected to follow in his footsteps, and I represent the Bentley leadership team when I say we are confident in our readiness and growth mindset for the coming decades.”

Previously he was general manager of SAP marketing cloud and served as chief product officer of Scytl, a platform for online voting. He was also senior vice-president of product with OpenX, a programmatic advertising company. Before OpenX, he had already served in a variety of senior roles at SAP, including product management, corporate strategy, and business development.

Cumins is a dual French and US citizen, and is based in France. He holds a master degree in law and master of management sciences in business from Paris-Panthéon-Assas University.

Greg Bentley, current CEO, Bentley Systems

Greg Bentley, executive chair designate

Serving as CEO since 1995, 69-year-old Greg Bentley is the oldest of five brothers who founded Bentley Systems. Keith, Ray, and Barry Bentley retired and remained company directors.

Under Cumins as COO since January 2022 and chief product officer previously, Bentley said that both its Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) growth and operating margins have consistently improved to the highest levels in its 40-year history.

“Over the three-plus years since [Bentley Systems] IPO and the expected retirement wave that enabled, we fully reinvigorated our executive leadership with a high-functioning cadre that — while 20 years younger — benefits from valuable public-company experience and is already reaching its collaborative stride,” the current CEO said.

“I am pleased to be able to retire from CEO responsibilities this year with such confidence that our extended succession process now leaves Bentley Systems able to increase its potential, while safeguarding its performance.”

He added that the board determined Cumins to be the ideal CEO by virtue of “the continuity he respects and personifies in ‘family values’ of [the company’s] dedication to the success of colleagues and thence the success of [its] users and accounts”. However, the executive chair designate will remain responsible for overall capital allocation, such as potential platform acquisitions.

“By choice I will continue to regularly interact with our investment constituencies, with whom I have found particular affinity,” Bentley said. “Here is to Bentley Systems’ next 40 years!”