Born: October 21, 1939.
Died: December 31, 2012.
Funeral: Memorial at the Concert Hall of the Opera House, April 8, 2013.
STRAIGHT out of university, Stuart Hornery joined the Lend Lease group in 1964, becoming chief executive in 1978 at 39, executive chairman in 1988 and non-executive chairman in 1994.
However, his life is better measured by the things he built: a family that remained at the centre of his heart; a ‘‘second family’’ of co-workers inside Lend Lease; some of Australia’s most iconic structures, conceived and built by what he called ‘‘rebels who deliver’’; and a network of organisations fitting his belief that society only succeeds if it finds ways to look after those who are less able to look after themselves.
Stuart Hornery was born in a cottage hospital in Muswellbrook on October 21, 1939, one of two sons to Merv and Mavis Hornery.
He attended public school in Muswellbrook before earning a bachelor of science (technology) degree in civil engineering from the University of NSW in 1964, then joined Lend Lease.
In many ways he was ahead of his time. While he was in charge, Lend Lease had flat management before the term was invented, no in-house legal department, no human resources bureaucracy and no organisational charts. Instead, it ran project teams, organised itself and the spaces it worked in to fit, and drove responsibility for ideas, revenue and earnings right down through the organisation.
Mr Hornery turned Lend Lease into the business world’s ‘‘beautiful duckling’’ – a unique corporate creature that frequently topped the ‘‘most admired’’ lists.
Mr Hornery was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to industry in 1988, and was ABM magazine Businessman of the Year in 1994, but he placed little store in accolades.
He formed the ACTU-Lend Lease Foundation, a partnership with the Australian Council of Trade Unions that created a network of 140 training companies around Australia, and worked with more than 50,000 companies to train more than 100,000 workers.
In 1992 he also accepted a call from the-then employment, education and training minister, Kim Beazley, to join the inaugural board of the federal government’s Australian National Training Authority. He chaired it for many years until his retirement in 2005.
With Lend Lease’s assistance in 2000 he also founded the Hornery Institute, an independent not-for-profit organisation focused on working with companies and governments to build better living conditions for communities.
Lend Lease was founded by G.J. ‘‘Dick’’ Dusseldorp, who came to Australia from Holland in 1950 to found a new construction company with finance supplied by two Dutch companies, Bredero and Nordined.
It was a significant corporate force by the time Mr Hornery took over in 1978, and at its zenith when he stepped down as chairman in 2000.
Mr Hornery travelled to the Netherlands in the 1960s with his first wife, Jan, to spend three years working with Nordined, and that helped to place a European strand in the Lend Lease weave.
The group was key to the introduction of family-friendly policies and an employee ownership scheme that doubled employee ownership of the company to more than 20per cent while he was in charge.
Stuart Hornery is survived by Lynette, his children, David, Sarah and Simon, eight grandchildren and brother Raymond.
A memorial will be held in the Concert Hall of the Opera House at 1pm on Monday, April 8.