Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : December 2011 Contents 6
Volume 2 Number 2
‘In the end I have enormous respect for Wal. I
have enormous respect for many of the people who
have worked for this company. And Leighton is the
company it is because of its people.’
Early indications are that renewal is well underway.
The company has unveiled about $1 billion in new
contracts and contract extensions since the end of
September. That includes a US$500 million deal with
PT Bayan Resources in Indonesia through PT Thiess
The announcement added more certainty to
the company’s Indonesian operations and quelled
rumours it may seek to float its Indonesian contract
‘There are a couple of projects that have provided
challenges for us as a company. We’ve had to change
as well. Those projects will finish and we’ll move
on,’ Tyrwhitt says, referring to Airport Link and the
Victorian desalination plant.
‘We’re big and strong enough to deliver consistent
services, even though we have financial challenges
on those jobs.’
Tyrwhitt says his background as the one-time head
of the company’s Asian business gives him a unique
insight into growth prospects in some of the world’s
fastest growing and biggest economies.
As well as a former Managing Director of Leighton
Asia, Tyrwhitt was Director of Leighton Contractors
(Asia) for four years until 2011. With much of the
resource development in Australia in some way
linked to demand for energy and minerals in Asia,
Tyrwhitt knows what the end users are expecting from
‘I bring a very good understanding of Asia and a
good understanding of where the opportunities are
coming from for the company over the next several
decades,’ Tyrwhitt says.
‘It’s not just that there are opportunities that exist
in Asia; most of the projects that exist in Asia – the
justification and the end user – usually rest in Asia. It’s
the growth in China or elsewhere in Asia; that’s where
our iron ore is going, that’s where our coal is going.
‘Leighton has to come to terms with the fact that
it’s no longer a company that is Australia-centric.
We’re providing services to the resource sector in
this part of the world. My knowledge of Asia makes it
easier to understand the connectivity between all of
the projects and the clients.’
Keeping abreast of those views and learning
from the company’s far-flung workforce demands
a punishing schedule. Tyrwhitt, who plans to move
his family, including five boys, to Sydney by the end
of the year, says he spends on average three to four
nights a week on a plane.
Since taking the top job, Tyrwhitt has visited the
desalination project in Victoria, and Airport Link.
He kicked off a recent one-week period with board
meetings over a weekend in Dubai; a board meeting
with Leighton Welspun India; back to Sydney; on
to Malaysia; and then to Barrell Island in Western
Australia, the home base for the $43 billion Gorgon
project. Then he jetted off to Japan as part of an
Australia/Japan trade delegation.
At times Tyrwhitt admits he relies on an estimated
20 cups of coffee a day, while getting by on two hours
of sleep. On immigration forms, he’s been known to
write his home as 37,000 feet.
‘That’s not an exaggeration,’ Tyrwhitt quips.
‘My style of management is about visible
management: going to the areas and meeting the
people. I have no problems sleeping on Qantas.’
Continued on page 8
Tyrwhitt outlines his vision for Leighton
ABOvE: Hamish Tyr whitt
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