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    Woods Bagot's global chief announces plans to retire

    David Wheeldon

    The group managing director of Australia’s largest architectural firm, Ross Donaldson, is expected to announce a successor to lead Woods Bagot early this year.

    The Hong Kong-based leader told The Australian Financial Review he will retire in March after eight years at the head of the company, with a new appointment to be selected internally, not necessarily from an Australian office.

    Donaldson was appointed group managing director in December 2006. During his tenure, he is credited with overseeing the rapid growth of the company and completion of the firm’s global expansion.

    Based in Asia since 2007, Donaldson led the firm as it opened offices in San Francisco, New York, Shanghai, Singapore and Abu Dhabi, and is reported to have taken revenue in Asia from zero to 30 per cent of company profit.

    For the past two years Woods Bagot was named Australia’s largest architectural firm - and one of the world’s largest – in the annual World Architecture 100 rankings compiled by the UK’s Building Design magazine. The latest report rated Woods Bagot the world’s seventh-largest design firm, with 817 fee-earning architects.

    Woods Bagot’s largest global client is Chinese developer Greenland, with which the firm is undertaking work in the recently announced bid for Brisbane’s multi-billion dollar Queen’s Wharf casino and resort.

    Pictured: The Greenland Crown proposal for Brisbane

    Other highlights for Donaldson include leading development of the firm’s ‘One Global Studio’ philosophy, which drives knowledge-sharing and collaboration across all the international offices and projects. Another has been leading the company's ever-strengthening commitment to research, as well as breaking new ground in zero emissions architecture.

    Having joined the firm in 2001, Donaldson was director of the company’s Education and Science Sector, where he led the design of international University projects in the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

    Prior to joining Woods Bagot he  enjoyed a 17-year academic career along with his private practice.

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