Timms (pictured) joins the executive committee alongside newly promoted corporate development director Alpna Amar and reports to CEO Andrew Davies.
Before joining the listed group last October in the top public affairs role, Timms was head of UK corporate affairs at Zurich Insurance, with responsibility for government relations, external comms and sustainability. She also spearheaded diversity and inclusion initiatives for Zurich and the wider insurance sector.
Davies said: "I'm delighted to welcome Sophie and Alpna to the executive committee and know they will provide additional strength and perspectives to the team as Kier looks to move into the next phase of its strategy.
"With Kier's role as a strategic supplier to the UK Government, Sophie's extensive public affairs and communications experience will be invaluable in supporting Kier's internal and external engagement, as well as ensuring we can help our clients to deliver on their long-term societal aims."
Timms said: "Since joining Kier, I have been impressed not only by the scale of the projects and programmes it delivers, largely on behalf of the public sector, but also its strong credentials in delivering long-term social impact in communities. I am incredibly excited to ensure we keep colleagues and external stakeholders up-to-date with the progress Kier is making and the role infrastructure and construction can play in supporting recovery from COVID-19, rebalancing prosperity and the delivery of net zero goals."
Kier Group undertakes construction and infrastructure projects in both the public and private sectors across the UK. Last month it agreed to sell its housebuilding business, Kier Living, to a newly formed company owned by Terra Firma founder Guy Hands, in a move to reduce debt and shift its focus.
Timms' new position at Kier Group aligns with the recent trend of major corporations expanding the roles of corporate affairs, comms or public affairs leaders in their businesses during the period of the pandemic.
Yesterday, Premier Foods announced it had expanded the role of corporate affairs director Hannah Collyer to include responsibility for environmental, social and governance. She also joined the executive leadership team.