Following eight years as Group Managing Director, Ross Donaldson has been appointed by the board as Executive Chairman, effective from 1 March 2015.
Ross Donaldson has been appointed Executive Chairman by Woods Bagot’s board and shareholders. This newly created executive role will allow Ross to continue to work in the business in a full time capacity after he steps down as Group Managing Director in the middle of this year.
As Ross moves into the role he will draw upon the wisdom and knowledge gathered during his eight years as Group Managing Director, and a long history within the architecture industry, to carefully steer the firm along a path of intrepid future growth.
Ross moved to Asia in 2007 to focus on the region and grow the northern hemisphere business. Since then, Woods Bagot’s Asia business has grown from 5% of revenue and zero profit to approximately 25% of revenue and approximately 30% of profit.
Since 2006, Woods Bagot has opened five studios: San Francisco, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and in 2014 has a net revenue of approximately US$157M (more than seven times than the net revenue in 2006).
Also during this time, Woods Bagot adopted a unique matrix organisational structure that suits to support the firm’s global studio vision, countering the limitations of reporting silos.
The future of the firm looks optimistic with Ross predicting that investment from China will keep fuelling domestic construction in Australia. In addition, deregulation in China and the slowing of the Chinese market is expected to create a double incentive for the investment capital outflow, particularly to New York, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“We are now a truly global firm, and are seventh largest in the world,” says Ross. “We are winning impressive projects with quality clients throughout the world. The work is also achieving unprecedented recognition and awards. The future of Woods Bagot is assured for many years to come.”
A former academic, Ross drove the firm’s investment in research and emphasis on sector specialization and academic partnerships. Through his earlier Education and Science sector leadership role, he published Public #2: Education Futures and more recently led collaborations with Stanford University, Columbia University and Buro Happold with Zero-E.
As well as moving into the Executive Chairman role, Ross will also taking up a prestigious Adjunct Professorship at the University of Western Australia.
Woods Bagot will appoint a current director to the Group Managing Director role for the global architecture firm in March.