Nik Karalis Appointed CEO at Woods Bagot

Monday, August 3rd, 2015
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Through an internal voting process, Nik was appointed by his fellow Directors of the Board and by Woods Bagot’s global shareholders. He assumes the full role following a short transitional phase.

“I am taking on this role at a time when Woods Bagot’s international profile has entered a new stage in its development,” Nik said.  “More than 60 percent of our revenue comes from projects outside Australia. Increasingly, our work is being recognised as world-leading – from our design of the award-winning International Renewable Energy Agency HQ in Abu Dhabi to our renovation of Ossipoff’s historic IBM building in Honolulu, Hawaii.  In addition, we have a number of major projects on site in key global cities such as New York and London.  These metropolises are in a new epoch of reinvention and growth and I am keen to ensure that Woods Bagot is able to build on its success in other parts of the world and apply this collective experience to meet new challenges in markets that are established international capitals.”

An internationally-recognised designer, Nik has previously lived and worked in Europe and Asia – as well as Australia – and has collaborated closely with Woods Bagot design teams on projects in all parts of the world. This experience has given Nik a strong understanding of the global architectural landscape combined with sound insight into the unique local requirements of clients.  In 2006 – as Global Product Leader – Nik led the rebranding of the practice and was instrumental in the inception of ‘Public’, Woods Bagot’s research brand, and a commitment to design intelligence and the Global Studio model.

Nik said one of the greatest shifts in the marketplace in recent times has been the move towards the creation of a global “user experience” economy.

“This shift – whereby we are now spending almost as much time online as we are offline – has highlighted the central role of technology in people’s lives.  It means that everything we design for our clients needs to reflect the constant rebalancing between what users are demanding and what technology can offer them, and to put this at the heart of our approach. By establishing an environment in which the ‘smart creatives’ of our studios are continually inspired to explore new opportunities and develop new design approaches, we have a strong, competitive base on which to build our presence in the global digital experience economy in the future.”

In addition, Nik said the pace of technological change was so rapid and widespread that it affected the type and value of data collected about the user experience and how analysis of that data and knowledge gained could be applied and shared.

“Our ‘Global Studio’ model has helped to make us one of the most collaborative and innovative architectural practices in the world.  We are now making a significant investment in developing sophisticated tools which allow us to undertake complex spatial planning.  By modelling the impact of urban and architectural design on the way people use spaces over time, we are able to continually reassess the quality of a development during the design process to ensure maximum effectiveness of a building when it is delivered.”

Outgoing Group Managing Director and recently-appointed Executive Chairman Ross Donaldson said Nik is a truly extraordinary individual whose proven achievements and future vision for Woods Bagot will stand the company in excellent stead.

“Since joining the practice in 1992, Nik has proven himself to be a creative, energetic and inspirational leader whose visionary outlook and commitment to innovation are among his greatest strengths,” said Ross.

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