Imperial College London

Professor Atula Abeysekera FCGI

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Professor of Practice (Risk Management)







Skempton BuildingSouth Kensington Campus






Professor Atula Abeysekera is the Professor of Practice in Risk Management at Imperial College.

He focuses on high-quality teaching and research programmes relating to one or more of these aspects of infrastructure risk. His particular interest is in the practical understanding of managing extreme risks and developing resilience programmes. He has already advised the UK Government on managing Black Swan risks.

He is a member of the Industry Steering Group for the UK Government specialising in risk and safety to drive forward the building safety programme recommended by Dame Hackitt following the Grenfell tragedy. He is a Treasurer of a Think Tank and advises the UK Cabinet Office on improvements to risk culture and resilience

He has over 30 years of commercial experience at civil engineering (Mott MacDonald) and blue chip financial institutions (Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, Lazard, Cazenove). Over the last 11 years he has worked as a senior risk officer at Schroders plc, a FTSE 100 company.

He was the Chairman of the Risk Forum Committee of the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments from 2005 to 2015 and created and trained a global network of over 1000 risk officers. Between 2007 to 2018, Atula served as a Non-Executive Director at the Institution of Civil Engineers (Thomas Telford Ltd). 

He is a Chartered Civil Engineer (Institution of Civil Engineers, UK) and a Chartered Accountant (Institute of Chartered Accountants, England & Wales). He has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London and Fellowship of the City and Guilds Institute. He is a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers.  

He is a graduate of the Department of Civil Engineering at Imperial College London; is current President of the City and Guilds College Association ('CGCA'), which is the Alumnus Association of the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College London which has over 3500 members. He is a visiting professor at Universidad de Navarra, Spain. 

Professor Abeysekera is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation at the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London.

His passion outside work is cricket, and he is a member of the MCC. He is author of the book “What’s the small idea” (



Abeysekera, A. (2015). What’s the small idea? - Innovation and Risk Culture in Government. Amazon:


Author of the policy paper ‘Black Swans means business’ which shows how unknown-unknown’ risks impact national security. The paper was republished by a think tank and professional journals.

Abeysekera, A. (2013). Black Swans means business: The Institution of Engineering and Technology: Infrastructure Risk and Resilience: Transportation:

Abeysekera, A. (2012). Taming the Beast: The continuity insurance & risk:

Author of the policy paper ‘Mind the Gap: Funding for UK’s Flood Defences’. The paper recommends innovative financial structures required to off load flood defence assets from the Government’s Balance Sheet to the Private Sector. The paper was republished by a think tank.

Mind the Gap – Funding for UK’s Flood Defences: The Bow Group:


1) Hazards31 - Institute of Chemical Engineering - Keeping Risk in Perspective: Learning to Manage Black Swan Risks - November 2021

2) Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Managing Black Swans - May 2021

3) Confederation of British Industry (CBI),  -  Keeping Risk in Perspective: Learning to Manage Black Swan Risks - May 2021

4) Chartered Bankers and Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments, Keeping Risk in Perspective: Learning to Manage Black Swan Risks - May 2021 

5) Friends of Imperial College - Learning to Manage Black Swan Risks - April  2021

6) City and Guilds College Association, Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College: Prof Atula Abeysekera was elected President of the City & Guilds College Association in June 2020. At the Annual General Meeting, Prof Abeysekera delivered a speech on Managing Black Swans.

Click here for the transcript, it gives Prof Abeysekera's thoughts on how to manage and tame Black Swan events.