With his architectural background, Hanway may not be the obvious choice to head a building consultancy. The 48 year old moved to London 14 years ago to specialise in masterplanning work in South Africa and Europe for a year and decided that basing himself in the UK made more sense than flying back and forth from New York.
He caught the eye of Jason Prior, now president of US architect EDAW, who was desperate to recruit him for the practice’s London office. He managed to persuade him to stay and for the next 10 years the pair worked together on major masterplanning projects, from the redesign of Manchester city centre to the Olympic park and legacy programme.
During his time at EDAW, Hanway was instrumental in growing the business from a single-office practice to a $214.8m (£135m) turnover global market leader. His business prowess and his training as an architect will surely come in handy when overseeing Aecom’s strategy to amalgamate the design and engineering sides of the business.
The £3.7bn Aecom group restructured earlier this year to bring its many acquisitions under one umbrella to offer clients the ultimate one-stop shop. The brands were also united under the one name, which was taken on by UK arm Faber Maunsell in May, raising Aecom’s local profile considerably. Aecom now offers everything from architecture and design to engineering and project analysis.
It is now Hanway’s job as UK chief executive to make sure this new strategy is successfully rolled out in this part of the world, without hindering commercial goals such as doubling the size of the business in less than five years.
Aecom's key figures
Turnover: $5.6bn (£3.7bn)
Entered UK: 2000
British buys: Maunsell, Oscar Faber, Bullen Consultants, Mulholland & Doherty, Hamilton & McGregor Acoustics and Savant
Jobs include: Crossrail programme partner and Olympic masterplan
Strategy: Plans “significant” growth in Europe to push up the region’s revenue from current level of 10% of group turnover. It plans to grow organically in the UK, possibly with niche purchases, but is also looking to make acquisitions in western Europe, particularly Scandinavia.
Read more about his plans in the published article Double vision: Bill Hanway of Aecom UK on expansion plans in Building.