Fluor, AECOM, Granite, Gilbane and Jacobs have announced new leadership in recent months while dealing with COVID-19 and diversity challenges.
By Jenn Goodman
Some of the country’s largest construction firms have made changes to their executive leadership and boards of directors in recent months.
These board and C-suite moves come at a time when industries and government officials are considering ways to expand the diversity of corporations’ top leadership. For instance, last month, California passed a law that requires publicly held corporations headquartered in the state to diversify their boards of directors with directors from “underrepresented communities” by the end of 2021. The legislation follows a 2018 law that requires publicly held corporations headquartered in California to include women on their boards.
Companies with new corporate leaders include:
Granite Construction announced in late September that president and CEO James H. Roberts had retired and that chief operations officer Kyle T. Larkin had been appointed to take over as president and principal executive officer.
Larkin, 49, joined the Watsonville, California-based company in 1996, and since February has been responsible for day-to-day operations as executive vice president and chief operating officer. His promotion to president was effective Sept. 22. Roberts is expected to remain with the company for a period of time as chief executive officer emeritus, reporting directly to Larkin, to aid in a seamless transition, according to a company statement.
This summer, AECOM named Chief Financial Officer W. Troy Rudd to the position of CEO and appointed Lara Poloni, chief executive for Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, as president of the Los Angeles-based infrastructure services provider. Both officially transitioned to their new roles on Oct. 1 and take over leadership responsibilities from the retiring Michael Burke, the company said Monday.
Since joining AECOM in 2009, Rudd has held key leadership roles, including operational and financial responsibility for AECOM’s Americas Design and Consulting Services business, as well as AECOM Capital, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, treasury, corporate controllership and financial reporting, risk and controls, and tax and shared services functions. Rudd has also led the expansion of the company’s design center and shared services center practices.
Poloni has held significant leadership positions across her 25-plus year tenure with AECOM, including chief executive of AECOM’s Australia and New Zealand operations from 2014 before moving into chief executive of EMEA role in October 2017. She will lead the global design business as part of her expanded role and responsibilities.
This fall, Randy Wotring, chief operating officer, announced his retirement but will continue to serve as a senior advisor to the Los Angeles-based company through the end of December. Wotring served in numerous leadership positions within AECOM and its legacy companies throughout a nearly 40-year career, according to the company.
Steve Morriss, AECOM’s group president of its DCS Americas business, has stepped down effective immediately. To ensure a seamless transition, Mr. Morriss will remain available in the near term to provide transition-related services to the company.
This summer, Fluor Corp. announced the appointment of Joe Brennan as the company’s chief financial officer, following D. Michael Steuert’s decision to retire from the position. To assist with the transition, Steuert will remain with the company as a senior advisor through the end of the year.
Steuert returned from retirement last year to help the new management team with the strategic review of the organization and to provide expertise as Fluor charted a new path forward.
Brennan has worked at Fluor since 1991 and has served as the senior vice president, operations controller since June 2020. Previous roles include segment controller of Energy & Chemicals from 2016 to 2020 and general manager of Fluor’s southern California operations from 2013 to 2016. He also was manager of ICA Fluor operations from 2008 to 2013.
Fluor also named Teri P. McClure to its board of directors effective Oct. 1. She will serve on the board’s audit and governance committees and will bring the total number of Fluor board members to 13.
McClure was with United Parcel Service (UPS) for nearly 25 years where she was most recently chief human resources officer and senior vice president of labor. Her previous positions at UPS included senior executive leadership roles in legal, compliance and public affairs as well as serving as the general counsel and secretary.
McClure currently serves as a director on the boards for GMS Inc., JetBlue Airways and Lennar Corp.
Brooks, a retired four-star general, served in the U.S. Army for more than 40 years until his retirement from active duty in 2019. Most recently, he was the commander of 650,000-member Korean and United States forces in the Republic of Korea. Brooks was the first African American chosen to lead all 4,000-plus cadets at West Point as the Cadet Brigade Commander, and went on to become the eighth African American in history to attain the military’s top rank of four-star general in the Army.
Brooks serves on the boards of Diamondback Energy, the Gary Sinise Foundation and the Korea Defense Veterans Association, and is a principal with WestExec Advisors.
Fernandez, managing partner at KPMG, joined the company’s board on Oct. 5 after retiring from KPMG in late September. Most recently, he served as KPMG’s Dallas office managing partner and market leader for the Southwest area where he led a team of more than 3,000 partners and professionals across audit, tax, and consulting.
Fernandez brings a strong focus on talent management with a passion for advancing inclusion and diversity, according to a company statement. At KPMG he was the national managing partner for talent acquisition, hiring more than 3,000 full-time employees and 2,500 interns annually, a member of the National Inclusion and Diversity Board, as well as co-Chair of the National Hispanic/Latino employee resource group.
Fernandez immigrated from Cuba at the age of eight and believes in the mantra of “you can’t be what you can’t see,” the statement said. His efforts in this area have been recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). Fernandez is also actively engaged in community and nonprofit activities.
Privately owned Gilbane announced the election of Robert L. Dixon, Jr. and William R.C. Tresham to its board of directors. Dixon, who has more than 40 years of experience leading business teams, was senior vice president and the longest tenured chief information officer in PepsiCo’s history and spent three decades with Procter & Gamble where he founded the company’s SAP Global Center of Expertise, integrating multiple systems into a single SAP platform.
Tresham leads RittenVest Inc., a Montreal-based real estate investment, advisory and asset management firm, which he founded in 2018. Prior to founding RittenVest Inc., he served as president at Ivanhoe Cambridge, the tenth largest real estate investing group in the world, which grew from $30 million to nearly $60 billion in assets under management during his tenure.
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