Laing O’Rourke has announced the appointment of Paul Sheffield as Managing Director of the Group’s Europe Hub, covering operations in Canada, United Kingdom and the Middle East, replacing Paul Robinson.
In his new role starting October 2014, Sheffield will have executive responsibility for leading the development and delivery of the Group’s growth agenda in what it describes as core markets. He will also serve on the Laing O’Rourke Group Executive Committee.
He joins the company following a 31-year career with Kier Group, where he most recently he served as Chief Executive Officer, stepping down in June 2014 following a successful four-year tenure overseeing a significant expansion in their activities, including the successful acquisition of May Gurney.
At the time, Sheffield suggested he may seek a role outside of the construction industry, saying it would be “exciting to try your skills at something completely different”.
He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Surrey in recognition of the major contributions he has made to the civil engineering profession.
He is an inaugural member of the UK Government’s Construction Industrial Strategy Advisory Council (CISAC), set up by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to drive a long term strategy for growth in construction across the UK.
Commenting on the appointment, Group Chief Executive of Laing O’Rourke, Anna Stewart, to whom Sheffield will report on the Executive Committee, said: "During this period of industry transformation, there is no better person to lead the development of Laing O’Rourke’s Europe Hub than Paul Sheffield. He is a proven leader with hard core engineering and construction skills, industry vision and the ability to unite people behind that vision.
“His passion for how the construction industry can positively influence the world around us is exactly what Laing O’Rourke needs as we enter our next chapter of innovation and growth.
"With a broad executive remit, he will spearhead the Europe Hub strategy to get closer to our customers by delivering the inherent benefits of our unique business offering. As one of the few remaining civil engineers to lead a major international contractor, his experience of successfully running complex businesses will greatly benefit the Group as we evolve our strategic focus towards expanding the opportunities to deploy our Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach."
Commenting on his new role, Sheffield said: "To make real progress towards the ambitions set out last year in the UK Government’s industrial strategy for construction in 2025, businesses need to have the courage to find ways of doing things differently. The 30 percent time and 50 percent cost savings targeted will not be achieved by incremental change alone.
“Recent investments in innovation, manufacturing and engineering excellence at Laing O'Rourke have shown that they have the ambition to lead this change agenda and to drive it at a pace that I have not seen in any other business in the industry. I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to be at the forefront of this paradigm shift in the way our industry works, and am very much looking forward to meeting the team and getting started in October."
Chairman of Laing O’Rourke, Ray O’Rourke added: "We are absolutely delighted that Paul has agreed to join us and lead the development of our international businesses across the Europe hub. He is one of the leading figures in our industry and has an outstanding reputation in business development, corporate leadership and construction delivery.
“The opportunity ahead for Laing O’Rourke is huge, but in order to seize it, we must have clear focus, move at pace, while continually innovating and transforming our customer offering. Paul possesses the skills and experience to help make this happen and the Board is looking forward to working with him."