Garry Dryburgh, President of Middle East & Africa at Amec Foster Wheeler spoke exclusively to Pipeline about the firm's push for connected excellence, and how balanced rhythm was so important in the new company's integration.
The integration of Amec and Foster Wheeler last year was a mammoth task that Garry Dryburgh was put in charge of implementing. He has now taken on his new role as President of the Middle East and Africa and is clearly bringing his expertise to some of the things he learnt during the integration process, especially connecting excellence across the company.
Dryburgh started his career in the drilling sector and joined Amec nine years ago.
"I thrive on a challenge and decided to go on the contracting side with Amec. They were all about people and it is people who deliver projects. I strongly believe in getting the best out of people."
During his first few years, Dryburgh cut his teeth on various initiatives such as the step change programme which is about how to reduce costs in the organisation.
"This made us leaner and leaner," he added proudly.
"I was also put on an operational excellence programme that looked at how we can better win support and deliver projects by going diagonally across the business, and bring the best of project management and the best of commercial," Dryburgh said.
At the end of January last year, he was asked by Amec Foster Wheeler CEO Samir Brikho to head up the whole integration programme ahead of the Amec Foster Wheeler combination.
"The first thing we focused on during the integration process was people. We sent out cultural surveys right down both organisations so we could understand what makes everyone tick. As a result, we took a blend of both firm's cultures that has now formed our new vision and values," he explained.
In less than a year on November 13, 2014, the newly formed firm was unveiled.
"In reality this was just the start of our journey. Since then we have set out to deliver on three plans. From a day one plan, through to what we had to do in the first 100 days so we wouldn't lose a wheel off either of the two businesses. We also had a one year plan to get the best of the best in terms of policies and procedures."
Dryburgh highlighted that the specialist advisors (Bain & Co) that advised them on the key stages of the integration recently provided feedback on the overall integration process, describing it as best in class.
"It feels really good looking back at the whole process. It was very satisfying," he stated.
Middle East focus
Dryburgh has now been able to take his integration hat off and focus on the Middle East and African region.
"I was very keen to get the Middle East and Africa role, as I love a new challenge," he said.
A tangible outcome of the integration, according to Dryburgh, is a real focus on connected excellence.
"Connected excellence is about the systems we have out in place to connect everyone. How do we best connect our top industry talent with new and existing customers?"
He highlighted the success of this new focus. Exemplified by the new company securing over 350 revenue synergy wins since the two firms joined together, that he claimed would not have been possible before the merger.
In the Middle East, the firm is more oil and gas focused but has also achieved quite a nice mix on the clean energy side as well.
"Saudi Arabia is a very important market for us, while, Kuwait is a big market for us as we are the project manager for KNPC's Clean Fuels Project and a new refinery."
As part of the integration, we got a few jewels from Foster Wheeler, one of which was the team in Dubai who are working on Shell's important Majnoon project in Iraq.
"We see Iraq as a key market. By the end of next year, hopefully with another win, we will have a large number of people on the ground in Iraq."
In Oman, Amec Foster Wheeler is looking to start a new joint venture project in the Sultanate from January next year.
"We want to have some localisation in the country as we think that could bring us further opportunities," he explained.
New business environment
According to Dryburgh, yesterday's business environment has gone as the oil price is going to be down for a couple of years. He feels businesses need to find a way to make their work exciting in this new reality.
"We need to really engage with our customers, truly understand what their objectives are. The more efficient we are the more compelling an offer we can make to our customers," he noted.
In his new role Dryburgh will focus on the three R's that have heavily influenced the integration process. The right people, ruthless prioritisation and rhythm.
He explained: "Every company needs to start building a rhythm that has the right balance depending on circumstances. So during these challenging times we have slightly changed our rhythm, in terms of sequence and meetings. You can become more nimble this way."
This interview featured in the November issue of Pipeline Magazine