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Ray O'Rourke sets sights on 2020 exit

Exclusive: Ray O’Rourke has revealed his plans to leave Laing O’Rourke in three years, with succession planning already under way.

In an exclusive interview with Construction News, Mr O’Rourke suggested the company could go public following his departure, if advanced manufacturing takes off sufficiently in the UK construction industry.

He said: “I’m determined that my preference would be to stand down from Laing O’Rourke whenever the trading year is done in 2020. There’s a danger with founder leaders that they are definitely past their sell-by date.

“I started succession planning in 2006, but you have to get out of the way – you can’t be a ghost walking around, I have seen it in other organisations and it doesn’t work.”

Having stepped into the chief executive role in late 2015 following Anna Stewart’s departure due to ill health, Mr O’Rourke said he wanted to bring in an independent chairman to the group and that a leadership committee was now working on succession planning.

“I am 70 years of age, I’m in good health and I have committed to delivering the next three trading periods,” he said.

“Between now and April 2020 the intention is to have a robust succession plan in place, to have a succession leadership team determine what they do with the next phase of the business.

“It may stay as it is, maybe it’s an IPO if we get the manufacturing to a stage where it would be attractive in the marketplace. They’re all the things that are in the vision to 2025 – it will get determined in the next six months.”

Full interview

Click here to read the full and exclusive interview with Ray O’Rourke on Brexit, the group’s problem job in Canada, the future of the industry and much more.

Read acting editor Tom Fitzpatrick’s leader here.

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