Simon Wallace, Turner & Townsend's head of management consultancy, talks about his new role and why the next wave of consultants are likely to come from construction
What kind of services does T&T's management consultancy arm offer?
Often, the construction of a new building and the installation of a facilities management team are only a part of a greater programme of change undertaken by a company. Turner & Townsend's management consultancy division has built on its traditional construction management consultancy, adding services like business change management. For example, a new internet bank might need a new building, a call centre, a personnel strategy and a range of other services to make it a successful business. Turner & Townsend can offer those business services. It's my job to keep on expanding the management consultancy division.

How long have you been in your job?
I joined just a few weeks ago. I was attracted to the company's international presence, and its track record for taking on large-scale project management programmes. Its resources and client list were of the utmost importance to me.

What have been the greatest challenges in your career so far?
Jobs that involve internal and external political dynamics are always a challenge. Last year, I worked on a big job for my client the Post Office Network. This involved implementing major change programmes, such as new IT systems and looking at staff roles. We wanted to change the Post Office's mentality from a retail mindset to a public service one. I had to deal with the politics of the workforce and central government.

I also worked for Aer Lingus on a programme that helped the airline change its vision and management approach, and helped to develop a new integrated IT system to underpin these changes. Again, there was a lot of politics to tackle in order to achieve these changes.

Have you ever worked as a management consultant to a construction company?
Yes, I designed a programme to implement enterprise, resource and planning for a multinational construction group.

Do you think the construction industry has a strong future in the provision of management consultancy services?
There's a tradition of going to people with IT or accountancy backgrounds for general business services, but that is changing. I think construction has a great future in this sector because its managers offer such a good service.

Construction managers are very disciplined and are experienced in managing complex projects – often from the minutiae to the grander picture. That means they are well placed to analyse and track business change programmes. I actually think they have a grasp of business change projects that is unrivalled by any other sector.

Simon Wallace

Employment history
Started out as an IT consultant for software developer ICL, then joined Barclays Bank as a life assurance advisor. He then spent 14 years at KPMG Consulting as a business solutions consultant and moved on to head up a global management team until 2000. Following that he worked for specialist consultant French Norton before taking up his current job this month
Law degree from Queen Mary College, University of London
Near London’s Waterloo Station
Wife and daughter