Our CEO’s views on the big topics for 2018

21 Dec 2017

With the end of the year fast approaching, what better time to sit down with our Group CEO and Managing Director, Steve McCann, to see how he’s thinking about the coming 12 months.

How is the next year shaping up for Lendlease?

Going into 2018, we believe we have the right strategy with the right business model to maximise value for our securityholders. That strategy includes continuing to invest in opportunities which we expect to meet or exceed our return on invested capital targets in our businesses. We’ve built up a significant development pipeline of $49.3 billion while still maintaining a strong balance sheet which gives us the flexibility to act should growth opportunities arise.

What will the company’s key areas of focus be?

First, we’ll maintain an unrelenting focus on the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees and people who interact with our projects and assets. Second, we’ll 
continue to pursue and deliver high-quality profitable projects in a select number of gateway cities that we believe will be the most resilient and the best performing over the longer term. Finally, working hard to ensure our culture, value set and focus on innovation enable us to attract and retain the best people and respond to the changing needs of our customers will be a major focus.

Is Lendlease about to get “disrupted”?

There’s no doubt that robotics, autonomous vehicles and big data will impact the way we produce and deliver our products and services. Technological disruption is not just a threat though. It’s also a great opportunity to improve our understanding of what our customers need and to more efficiently and sustainably deliver quality outcomes. Businesses that thrive have always been those that are able to adapt to changing circumstances, maintain the loyalty of their customers and attract and retain the best people. That’s what we are aiming to do.

Is Amazon entering the Australian market a good example this?

While Amazon is expected to have some impact on the Australian market, we’ve been actively re-mixing our shopping centres to enhance both the customer experience for shoppers and to create places in which retailers can be successful. We’re also seeing a trend towards successful retailers adopting an omni-channel approach where they combine physical retail with an online platform. Our diversified business mitigates against any material impact from the arrival of Amazon.

Any final thoughts on 2017?

As I reflect on 2017, I do so with mixed emotions. The devastating loss of three lives on our projects was a tragedy for the families, friends and colleagues of these men, Lendlease and our wider industry. In August this year, I asked all of our employees to ask themselves the question “what’s the worst that could happen?” This question is relevant every day, in everything we do – at work, at home, on the road and when spending time with those we love and care for. If this question prompts just one action that keeps people safe, it’s a question worth asking.