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HASSELL Expands International Focus

HASSELL recently announced new roles for 3 Board of Management members, heralding further expansion for the practice in Asia and Europe.

HASSELL Expands International Focus


August 17th, 2011

Earlier this year spoke to HASSELL Managing Director Robert Backhouse about the firm’s growth, particularly in China and Southeast Asia following the opening of their Singapore office.

Last week it was announced that 3 members of HASSELL’s Board of Management have been appointed to new roles that will allow them to focus on the firm’s international growth and success.

Chairman of the Board Ken Maher will become Chairman of the HASSELL International Executive, with a special emphasis on guiding international development in China, Southeast Asia and, most recently, the UK, where the practice’s new London office will extend their capabilities into Europe and the Middle East.


“As Chairman of our new International Executive, my core focus will be to build on our design reputation and client relationships and unite our people together across geographic boundaries,” Maher explains.

“This also involves harnessing our collective international talent and bringing it to bear on projects at a local and international level.”


PTTEP, Bangkok, Thailand

On the catalysts that led to the creation of his new position, Maher said, “As a Board we have been developing our international strategy for several years. Our increasing international recognition through design awards and the expectations of our international clients have encouraged us to act to establish this new International Executive.”

Further consolidating the firm’s international focus is Shanghai-based Managing Director Asia, Peter Duncan, taking on the role of Chairman of the Management Board.


Duncan is the first non Australia-based Director to fill this role, which is emblematic of the practice’s strong presence in Asia.

“Our work in China now constitutes 20% of our work in total,” Duncan explains.



Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong

“Although historically HASSELL has been guided from its base in Australia, it is clear that a shift in emphasis is now required with a broader, more cohesive guiding hand taken by our leadership team.”

Duncan’s primary focus will be “to ensure a level of consistency in design excellence, across disciplines and geographic boundaries,” he says.


Radisson Suites, Bangkok Sukhumvit, Bangkok, Thailand

“There will be a greater integration between all 13 studios [worldwide], with a sharing of design talent and resources across time zones. Not only will this promote design excellence, it will enable smarter, faster delivery of projects for our clients.”

Managing Director Robert Backhouse will continue his current role.


“My role largely remains the same,” Backhouse explains, “however, these are exciting times for HASSELL as key leaders from the Board step up to lead HASSELL into its next crucial stage of international development.

“Peter [Duncan]’s appointment in particular, from Managing Director of Asia to Chairman of the Management Board, is an acknowledgement of the increasing importance our studios in China are playing in helping guide our development.”

Top image: Harbin Taiping International Airport, Harbin, China


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