John Grill, recently retired chief executive of international engineering and project services company WorleyParsons, has donated $20 million to the University of Sydney for a project management initiative.
The first of its kind in the world, the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership will partner with organisations to help them meet the challenges of leading large-scale, complex projects around the world common in sectors such as mining, construction, transportation and communications.
According to the university, there is a global shortage of project leadership skills. It hopes the centre will deliver executive education, research and thought leadership, positioning the University of Sydney as the world leader in this field.
Grill, an alumnus of the university, said his vision was a world class education centre that would “attract senior executives across a broad range of industries from both the private and public sectors who will gain the skills to effectively deliver large projects bringing benefits to all”.
He cited a 65% failure rate for major projects worldwide, and said this indicated “a great need in Australia and around the world”.
Named Engineers Australia Professional Engineer of the Year in 2006, Grill also has an honorary doctorate from the University of Sydney acknowledging his contribution to the engineering profession.
University of Sydney’s vice-chancellor Michael Spence (pictured right with John Grill, above) thanked Grill for his “visionary and transformational gift”, which is said to be the largest single gift ever given by a living Australian to an Australian university.
The John Grill Centre for Project Leadership will complement the university’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies and its Business School.