Murray Rowden

Global Head of Infrastructure
I am an advocate for alternative performance-based delivery models, as well as the adoption of a collaborative programmatic approach to deliver better outcomes across asset portfolios and capital projects.
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I lead our global infrastructure business, working across the transport and mobility, environment, utilities and defence sectors. Throughout my career in construction and infrastructure I have been a leading advocate for a change agenda centred on reforming the industry’s relationship with its people, customers, government and communities. 

I joined Turner & Townsend in 1990 as a Quantity Surveying graduate from Glasgow Caledonian University. Since then, I have worked on some of the world’s most complex major programmes and projects, including the forward-thinking Heathrow Terminal 5 project. Before taking on my global role in 2012, I was entrusted with various leadership roles in our business, including Managing Director of our UK infrastructure business, and I was appointed to our Executive Committee in 2015. From 2016 to 2023, I also led our regional Americas business.

My experience has given me insight into the fundamentals of what it takes to set up portfolios, programmes and projects for success. There is an opportunity for the industry to adopt better ways to fund, procure and execute major projects against the backdrop of a growing public debate on the social and economic merits of infrastructure, the growing size and complexity of schemes, the associated environmental impact and low investor confidence of successful delivery.

Throughout my career I have been committed to contributing to the development of the engineering and construction industry, serving as Chair of the industry improvement body Constructing Excellence. I have also worked with government and industry organisations in Asia, Australia, Canada and the UK on developing industrial strategies, improvement initiatives and contributing to publications. I was a founder of the Infrastructure Evolution initiative in partnership with Columbia University, New York and I am a board member of British American Business. In 2018, I received an honorary doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University for my contribution to the industry.

Q. What attracted you to join Turner & Townsend?

Turner & Townsend was recommended by a lecturer at my university, and it was the only application I made upon graduation. Despite the fact that there was a recession at the time, Turner & Townsend was, and continues to be, committed to supporting graduates and growing our industry from the ground up.

Q. How has your career at Turner & Townsend developed?

A. Over the course of three decades with our business, I have had the opportunity to work on some of the world’s most complex major programmes and projects. Working with forward-thinking clients has given me experience with alternative delivery models, the adoption of a programmatic approach and the fundamentals of what it takes to set up major projects for success.

As a member of our business’ senior leadership, I have worked to ensure our strategy to become the world’s leading advisor on asset and capital programmes is built on collaboration with clients and industry, actively contributing to the development of performance-based delivery models on capital investment and asset management programmes.

Q. Which project are you most proud of being involved in at Turner & Townsend?

A. Terminal 5 (T5) at Heathrow Airport in London is certainly a major career milestone for me. T5 broke new ground in its delivery and procurement, it shaped new thinking in the industry, and continues to offer a way of working that delivers better outcomes. The mantra at T5 was “history in the making”, and you can see the model’s influence on the industry today.

Q. How do you contribute to Turner & Townsend making a difference?

A. While working in the UK utilities sector I picked up another mantra of “grow reputation, grow influence and grow the business”. The only way to realise this is by consistently delivering great service and products through great people. I have been fortunate in my career at Turner & Townsend to be in positions where I can focus on each of these areas with passion and purpose. Making a difference means having a positive impact on the life of a project or a person with whom I’ve worked, and that is what grows our business.

Q. Detail any specialist skills or experience for which you are known

A. I am probably best known for my contribution to our business strategy and my experience with alternative delivery models. While I studied quantity surveying, my career path has led me to being more of a commercial manager, which includes a focus on procurement. Having worked across the world and lived in and worked in America while leading our Americas business, I have learned that what works in one place does not always work in another. You must be able to adapt a solution to suit the client and the region, taking into account their understanding, circumstances and constraints. 

Q. Describe your typical day

A. Whether leading a region like I did for the Americas, or a segment like infrastructure, the fundamentals of my role remain the same in terms of winning work and building capability. My typical day as Global Head of Infrastructure includes engaging with our regions and supporting them in the management of our key clients, on positioning and bidding, and with associated resourcing needs. Building our capability and further developing our operating model is another key objective. Each of our global regions are on a journey and the global heads of infrastructure, real estate and natural resources segments have a key role in supporting and enabling growth that suits each region’s market. 

Q. What is the emerging trend in your industry specialism and how are you responding to this?

A. The scale and complexity of major projects is a significant trend in infrastructure. In addition, the search for funding has never been more conditional on sustainability and inclusion. This requires our industry to bring innovative solutions and new skills to the table. Our purpose and values directly respond to this challenge, and we have the opportunity to be one of the leaders in reforming the industry’s relationships with its client base and stakeholders. 

Q. How do you see your career progressing at Turner & Townsend?

A. I always strive to be relevant and impactful. Focusing on my global role allows me to collaborate with a diverse range of leaders across our business to shape the next stage of our growth and success. Relevance is so important in business, and I take pride in representing Turner & Townsend externally to our clients and industry, but also to our own people. I intend to keep engaging the market in the big conversation about how the industry needs to transform itself and what role we can play in that journey.

Q. How do you see the business developing over the next five years? 

A. I see us increasing our global presence and success, particularly in the Americas and Asia – two massive markets with significant spend across all sectors. As clients recognise the value we bring through our global experience, insights and data, we are becoming more involved on major projects and programmes earlier in the lifecycle.

Career highlights

  1. Refocused as Global Head of Infrastructure

  2. Appointed Regional Managing Director Americas

  3. Appointed to the Executive Board

  4. Appointed Global Head of UK Infrastructure

  5. Appointed Managing Director, Infrastructure (UK region)

  6. Joined Turner & Townsend as a graduate in the Glasgow office