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Laing O’Rourke appoints Paul Westbury as technical director

Laing O’Rourke has appointed Buro Happold chief executive Paul Westbury as its new group technical director.

Mr Westbury will join the contractor in the autumn, following a period of handover at engineering practice Buro Happold.

He will have global responsibility for Laing O’Rourke’s technical and engineering functions and will lead the development of the firm’s design and engineering services.

Mr Westbury has more than 23 years of experience within the technical design and engineering consultancy industry. He will serve on the Laing O’Rourke executive committee, reporting to chief executive Anna Stewart.

Buro Happold announced that former managing director Roger Nickells, who had led the firm’s work in the Middle East, will be the company’s new chief executive, having been with the company for four years.

Oliver Plunkett will now take leadership of the Buro Happold’s Middle East offering as its managing director.

Laing O’Rourke group chief executive Anna Stewart said the appointment marked a “step change in Laing O’Rourke’s engineering ambitions”.

“Paul has a global reputation as a leading expert in the design and delivery of multi-award winning buildings and infrastructure,” she added.

“With a broad executive remit, he will play a creative role in delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to meet our clients’ diverse needs.” 

Ms Stewart said Mr Westbury’s experience of “successfully running complex businesses known for developing cutting-edge ideas” would greatly benefit Laing O’Rourke as it seeks to expand its Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach to projects.

Mr Westbury said: “I genuinely believe Laing O’Rourke has the strategic focus, the resources and, most importantly, the right talent to lead the engineering and construction industry in an entirely new direction, setting the standards by which all other organisations in the sector will be measured.”

The contractor has undergone several changes to senior management in the past year.

Roger Robinson stepped down as lead of Laing O’Rourke’s Europe hub in March. In November 2013, Laing O’Rourke appointed chief executive of the UAE firm Al Naboodah Construction Group, Gary Wells, as its new UK infrastructure managing director.

That followed former UK construction boss Callum Tuckett being promoted to chief financial officer and chief commercial officer for the group and the departure of executive director Howard Shiplee to the Department of Work and Pensions to lead the delivery of Universal Credit – the government’s flagship benefits reform.

In January 2013 Mr Westbury was awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his services to engineering and construction in the UK’s New Year’s Honours list.

He is also a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. 

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