Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building
  • 18 Jul 2014

Kier's Sheffield to join Laing O'Rourke

Paul Sheffield, formerly group chief executive of Kier, has been appointed to head up Laing O'Rourke's Europe Hub, covering operations in Canada, United Kingdom and the Middle East. 

Sheffield is to take one executive responsibility for leading the development and delivery of a growth agenda in these markets. 

He will serve on the Laing O’Rourke group executive committee reporting to Anna Stewart, group chief executive, and will take up his post in October 2014.  Sheffield joins the company following a 31-year career with Kier - the construction, services and property development group. He stepped down as chief executive in June 2014, where his achievements in a 4-year tenure included the successful acquisition of civils contractor May Gurney. 

Sheffield has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Surrey and joined Kier in 1983.  He worked in the UK and overseas, and was appointed to head Kier’s infrastructure business in 2001. He joined the group board in October 2005 and became CEO at the start of 2010. 

In a statement, he 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% time and 50% 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.” 

Anna Stewart, group chief executive of Laing O’Rourke, 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.”   

Chairman of Laing O’Rourke, Ray O’Rourke said, “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.”

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