Sir Philip took a First Class Honours degree in Civil Engineering from Imperial in 1976. After graduating he joined Arup, the global design and engineering firm, as a graduate engineer. In 1993, he became Director of Ove Arup & Partners and in 2004 was appointed head of Arup's Europe and Middle East Region where he was responsible for delivering over 50% of the firm's global turnover. He was Executive Chairman of Arup Group from 2009 to 2014.

Sir Philip joined Woods Bagot in December 2015 and is now the non-executive Chairman. He also sits on the London Mayor's Infrastructure Delivery Board, and served as Chairman of London First between 2012 and 2014. He was a member of the Prime Minister's Advisory Group from 2011 to 2013 and founded the Infrastructure and Urban Development Community at the World Economic Forum. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, an Honorary Fellow of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), and was knighted in 2014 for Services to Engineering.

He was appointed to Imperial's Council in July 2011 and became its Chair in May 2015.