AECOM, the engineering and construction behemoth with a downtown Aiken footprint, has sold its Management Services business – a multibillion-dollar move that will have little to no negative implications for Savannah River Remediation and current employees, according to people involved with the matter.
The often nuclear- and defense-focused Management Services division was purchased by affiliates of American Securities LLC and Lindsay Goldberg LLC, private investment firms, for approximately $2.4 billion. The deal, foreshadowed in October 2019, closed Jan. 31, according to AECOM's first-quarter filings for fiscal year 2020.
The newly sold business has since pivoted and rebranded as Amentum, a standalone company positioned to continue, and potentially grow, what Management Services did.
"There's no connection with AECOM at all, as of today," Mark Whitney, the executive vice president and general manager of Amentum's nuclear and environment sector, said in an interview with the Aiken Standard. The brassy, sans serif A-E-C-O-M is no longer a part of the Newberry Street landscape, either. "We are essentially splitting off in whole. … It's a pretty clean separation."
Whitney explained Amentum's leadership, systems, people and projects all remain the same.
"There should be very little change," he continued, when it comes to Savannah River Remediation, the contractor formerly led by AECOM in charge of handling and processing millions of gallons of nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site. Last year, an AECOM spokesperson said the sale would have no impact on SRR or its workforce. The differences, the spokesperson said at the time, were "at the parent-company level only."
"It should be pretty seamless for our customers and our colleagues, our peers in the industry," Whitney said Monday. "I think the only real changes will be positive changes, ultimately."
Savannah River Remediation's website now features Amentum – not AECOM – as a parent company.
The severing of ties is a net positive for Amentum, the executive vice president explained, because it allows the company to laser focus its intent and resources and move forward "unencumbered." AECOM on Monday portrayed it as a win, too.
"It feels very good," Whitney said, later describing it as a "great opportunity."
Amentum – a name lifted from the Greek term for a leather strap lashed to a javelin to increase range and stability – will stay at the large brick-and-glass building along Newberry Street for the foreseeable future, though its business interests stretch far beyond the collective Savannah River Site and Aiken horizon.
The company has an international portfolio. Its hands are in South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, and California, among other states, as well as the U.K. and Japan. And Amentum is not solely dedicated to nuclear cleanup work; its website touts a spectrum of missions and purposes, or, simply put, "what we do."
"We may have a new name," Whitney said Monday, "but we have a 116-year legacy."
Leveraging those roots, and emphasizing the we're-not-a-startup reputation, will be crucial moving forward. Whitney foresees expansion, not contraction.
"There should be no concern about that whatsoever," he said of slashing jobs. "Yeah, we're not laying off people, we're not letting go of people. We're focused on growing, and hopefully hiring more and more."
Amentum comprises approximately 20,000 people, according to its website.
Michael Burke, AECOM's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement thanked Management Services – now Amentum – employees for their contributions. He also expressed confidence in the the new, discrete company.
The shift toward Amentum was visible in Aiken on Monday, when banners and other company paraphernalia with the fresh name and logo were hauled out at the Newberry Street office. Invites to a "reception and major announcement for a new company in the CSRA (formerly AECOM Management Services)" had also been making the rounds.
"We're going to bring all the same resources we brought to bear before we became Amentum, and more," Whitney said, "So we're excited."