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Shiplee leaves Laing O’Rourke to head up welfare reform

Laing O’Rourke executive director Howard Shiplee is set to leave the company in mid-May to lead the delivery of Universal Credit – the government’s flagship benefits reform.

Mr Shiplee was director of construction for the London 2012 Olympics, having previously directed major projects including the Ascot Racecourse redevelopment, the Network Rail/Thameslink upgrade and GCHQ’s new building.

Work and Pensions permanent secretary Robert Devereux said: “I am delighted to welcome Howard Shiplee to the department. Howard has a wealth of experience in the successful delivery of projects of significant scale and complexity.

“His know-how and experience will be invaluable as we begin the roll-out of Universal Credit.”

He added: “I would also like to thank David Pitchford who stepped in at short notice to lead the project while a successor to Philip Langsdale was found. 

“As scheduled, David will be returning to his role as chief executive of the Major Projects Authority after his three months at the DWP are complete.”

Mr Shiplee said: “The DWP is delivering the most important and far-reaching reform to the welfare system in a generation.

“I am delighted to be joining the DWP during such a key period of change and am excited by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to work with colleagues throughout the organisation to deliver this significant landmark programme.

“I’d also like to record my gratitude to Laing O’Rourke for expediting my release to take up this exciting challenge.”

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