Leading projects firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) today announced the appointment of Santo Rizzuto as Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 October 2011.
Mr Rizzuto’s appointment follows an extensive succession planning process that began in September 2010, when current CEO and Managing Director Paul Dougas advised the SKM Board that after 15 years in the role he would not be seeking an extension to his contract.
Mr Rizzuto is currently the General Manager of the firm’s Mining & Metals business and an SKM Board Director.
Commenting on the appointment, Peter Scott, Chairman, said: “In selecting a new CEO, the SKM Board evaluated our internal people against a long list of external executives from across the world. Our search consultants noted the extremely high calibre of each of the internal candidates for the role, which speaks to the talent pool overall within our firm and the quality of our development approach,” he said.
“Santo has all the attributes to lead our firm into the future, particularly his global experience, his proven ability to build and lead teams successfully and his clear appreciation of our values and culture. Strong client relationships remain critical to our ongoing success, and I know Santo is passionate about absolute client orientation.”
Mr Rizzuto said he was excited by the opportunities that lay ahead.
“I’m honoured to lead SKM into a new chapter, building on the strong, global foundations we already have in place,” he said. “My previous client leadership roles and global experience have provided me with a deep understanding and appreciation of SKM’s unique value proposition as a trusted partner to our clients, with a global capability to integrate a breadth of services, from strategic consulting to engineering and project delivery. We have a wonderful team of talented people at SKM, and my objective now is to engage and inspire the business and confirm our strategies to achieve focused growth into the future.”
Mr Rizzuto is a qualified electrical engineer, having graduated from the University of Sydney. He joined SKM in Sydney in July 1997, from GEC Alsthom Australia, where he held the position of Divisional Manager, Mining & Materials Handling. Shortly after joining SKM, he led the firm’s initial foray into South America, working on a number of projects in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. In 2000 he relocated to Santiago to establish SKM’s Chilean operations which culminated in the successful acquisition of Minmetal in September 2005, one of Chile’s largest engineering and construction management firms at that time. In 2006 he took on the role of Major Client Manager (Global) for BHP Billiton, responsible for SKM’s overall business relationship with that client. In July 2008, he was appointed General Manager of SKM’s Mining & Metals business. He was also appointed to the Board in the same year.
Santo Rizzuto will be SKM’s fourth Chief Executive Officer since its foundation as a private, employee-owned company in 1964. Mr Rizzuto follows Bruce Sinclair, Jack Knight and Paul Dougas.
Mr Scott paid tribute to outgoing CEO Paul Dougas.
“Under Paul’s stewardship as CEO for the past 15 years our firm has grown exponentially, and is now firmly established as one of the top professional services companies in the world. Under his leadership we have successfully completed more than 60 mergers and acquisitions, based on a central strategy of growing with our major clients and remaining relevant to their future needs. Paul has made an outstanding contribution since joining SKM more than 30 years ago, and I know everyone at SKM wishes him every success as he enters a new phase in his life and career. I’m also delighted that we will have an opportunity to acknowledge Paul’s contribution at our annual Shareholder Conference in Brisbane in November.”
More about Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM):
Sinclair Knight Merz is a leading projects firm, with global capability in strategic consulting, engineering and project delivery. It operates in three regions: Asia Pacific, the Americas and EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), deploying some 6,500 people from more than 40 offices while serving the Buildings and Infrastructure, Mining and Metals, Power and Energy and Water and Environment sectors. Formed in 1964 in Sydney as a private company, SKM has retained its independence through employee ownership, with fee income now greater than A$1 billion.