Aurecon, like several other big companies in the engineering and design fields, movingly supported Consult Australia’s pitch for greater diversity in this traditionally male-dominated field with the institute’s Male Champions of Change initiative of the past few years.
Now Aurecon has put its money where its mouth is and appointed two women to roles at the most senior levels of the company. Louise Adams is now head of Aurecon Australia and New Zealand, a role responsible for 80 per cent of the company’s revenue. She was previously in charge of the South Australian and Victorian practices which comprises about 700 of its 7500 total staff.
And Francoise Merit, previously chief financial officer for ANZ, steps up to the global role for that function.
Global chief executive officer William Cox told The Fifth Estate a year ago that the company had ambitious targets to raise female leadership quotas from the then current 26 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020. However, those targets have been revised upwards. That target was reached in early 2018 when the company lodged its annual report with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency showing 32 per cent female representation. The new target is 40 per cent representation by 2020.
Mr Cox said the female appointments would bring the number of women on the executive committee to three, “reflecting Aurecon’s commitment to increasing the number of female leaders as we continue to build a culture of diversity, innovation and digital excellence across Aurecon globally.
“Senior female leadership appointments are rare in the traditionally male-dominated engineering and finance industries, yet the benefits are immense. When you get different viewpoints operating in organisations, you unleash creativity, innovation and new solutions on old or intractable problems.
“This is particularly relevant at a time of enormous cultural change across the property, construction and infrastructure sectors as incredible new technologies help us plan, build and manage infrastructure and the built environment in ways never seen before, truly changing the way we engineer, design and advise”.
Ms Adams became the first Australian woman on the company’s global board in 2013 and she is its global spokesperson for Women in Leadership. Her background includes extensive experience as a project manager and chartered civil engineer.
Ms Merit joined the company in early 2018, after almost 20 years in the engineering sector including at Thales and for a defence industry organisation.
In another senior appointment global chief financial officer Andrew Muller has been named global chief operating officer. He joined the company in 2016 after 18 years with Lendlease.