Skanska UK’s new chief executive and president has backed CN’s Mind Matters campaign, as he said mental health would be an early focus in his new role.
Speaking exclusively to Construction News, Gregor Craig set out his priorities for his leadership the day it was announced that he would lead the business, taking over from Mike Putnam who had been in the role for more than seven years.
He paid tribute to the CN Mind Matters campaign on raising mental health awareness in the industry, saying it was an issue he had encountered within his personal life and that Skanska needed to expand its work on mental health in a “meaningful way”.
“I have had an experience in my family, which brings it home as to how difficult it can be to spot and do something about. I was shocked by the stats and information in Construction News.
“You look at the crowd of people we have here [in Skanska UK’s Hertfordshire head office] and the fact that one in four [of the CN survey respondents] had considered suicide, that message is stark.
“If you look at all the effort we put in to making sure people don’t have falls from height and then look at the amount of effort we put in to people not dying from suicide, it just doesn’t compute. We need to address that balance. It’s good the industry and Skanska have a growing awareness of it.”
He said Skanska now employed 200 mental health first aiders and that he wanted to grow this and Skanska’s mental health focus in “a meaningful way”.
Mr Craig said he would have four key themes to his leadership: Customer quality [“our job is to get them to choose us”]; performance [“we are in the upper quartile but we need to keep going and do better”]; health and safety; and people [“earlier in my career, going from buildings to civils wasn’t on my radar but [Mike Putnam] prodded me into doing it. I want Skanska to really think about people’s potential”].
Mr Craig pointed to opportunities presented by new methods of construction, including the trials of 3D printed concrete and bringing offsite construction to sites through Skanska’s ‘flying factories’ concept, as being at the heart of Skanska’s next evolution as a business.
New Skanska CEO: My priorities as boss