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Top 100 : 2009
COVER STORY – TOP 100 AUSTRALIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ENGINEERS INDUSTRY David Saxelby, 56 Managing Director, Thiess, Brisbane Civil engineer, University of Sydney D avid Saxelby has been the managing director of Th iess since 2007. Last year, the company had an annual revenue in excess of $5 billion. It employs nearly 15,000 staff and 8000 contractors in fi ve countries. Despite the economic downturn, Saxelby said the company’s work in hand remains at record levels. “Our diversity has helped us. For example, our newly restructured Th iess Services division is operat- ing across several disciplines and countries,” he said. Saxelby said the past 12 months have been busy with construction ramping up on Brisbane’s $4.8 billion Airport Link. Th e project remains the company’s most signifi cant contract win in that period. Th e company has also been awarded the contract for the $950 million redevelopment of Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital. It has won a $1.5 billion extension from PT Arutmin Indonesia to operate the Senakin and Satui Coal Mines in South Kalimantan in Indonesia. Th e Th iess Services division has secured a $475 million contract to design and build a construction waste recycling plant in the Middle East with a 16-year operating concession. Zhengrong Shi, 46 CEO and Chair, Suntech Power, Wuxi City, China Electrical engineer, University of New South Wales Z hengrong Shi is the CEO and chair of Suntech Power, one of the world’s leading solar energy companies as measured by production output of crystalline silicon solar modules. The company’s net revenue for 2008 was $1.9 billion and it employs 9100 staff . Th e company is planning to release a module consisting of its high-effi ciency Pluto cells in the second half of this year. In other plans, it will supply Swiss company Sunergic SA with solar panels for a 1MW solar system. Th e system is for Services Industriels de Geneve (SIG), a Swiss utility and will be one of the largest in Switzerland. Recently, it supplied 5MW of solar panels for a 10MW solar electricity system to power Masdar City in Abu Dhabi. Bill Wild, 62 Chief Operating Offi cer, Leighton Holdings, Sydney Civil engineer, University of Queensland L eighton Holdings is the umbrella organisation for the Leighton group, Australia’s largest construction business with 40,500 employees. Last fi nancial year its revenue was $14.5 billion. “The peopl e of the Leighton Group remain the cornerstone of our business and we remain absolutely committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace,” Bill Wild told Engineers Australia magazine. He was chair of Engineers Australia’s Taskforce on Construction Safety, which led to the publishing of the Guide to best practice for safer construction. He was also Engineers Australia’s Civil Engineer of the Year in 2004. John Schubert, 66 Chair, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sydney Chemical engineer, Melbourne University J ohn Schubert is chair of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), one of Australia’s largest banks. Th e CBA group has total staff of about 44,500, including those in BankWest. Its statutory net profi t aft er tax for the year ending 30 June 2008 was $4.7 billion. A signifi cant development for the group in the past year was its acquisition of BankWest and St Andrew’s Australia for $2.1 billion. Th e group also acquired up to $4 billion of Wizard originated home loans last December. Of these loans, $2 billion were acquired at the end of February. Another highlight for the group was the launch of its mobile internet banking service and its Small Business Investment Package. Apart from chairing CBA, Schubert is on the board of BHP Billiton and Qantas. His engineering career spanned the petroleum, mining and building materials industries. His last holiday was to the Great Barrier Reef. 46 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2009