Changing of the guard at Laing O’Rourke

Things are afoot in the Laing O’Rourke camp, both here in Australia and the Northern Hemisphere, that will see changes in the upper management levels for the company that goes back some 45 years to its foundation in concrete.

Among its projects, the company is known for an Australian-first for civil construction when two 3000-tonne 180-metre-long bridges (pictured) were constructed off-site for the Darlington Upgrade in Adelaide and moved into position in 37 hours, attracting the attention of Guinness World Records.

In April next year, a new Managing Director will take the helm in Australia following Cathal O’Rourke’s advice that he intends to step down then but remain a non-executive director. A promotion from within will see Rebecca Hanley, the current Group Director of Strategy and Transformation, move into the top role.

Hanley, a chartered accountant with an MBA, has worked for Laing O’Rourke in Sydney since 2018, collaborating on the Deliver 2025 agenda and “brings a strong strategic and financial skillset … [and] broad sector experience from … resources, oil and gas, advisory and private equity” in addition to her leadership style.

The company’s head office in the UK has also announced that Ray O’Rourke, Group Chief Executive, will step down from his role in September 2022 and join his brother Des as a Deputy Chairman of the Group. It will be 45 years after the O’Rourke brothers began the business with what they say was a single £2500 concrete structures project. They bought Laing Construction in 2001.

Seamus French, current CEO of the Anglo American Bulk Commodities and Other Minerals Division will join the leadership team in January 2022 as CEO-designate and Managing Director of the European Hub on a three-year contract. French, who will transition to CEO from March to September next year, spent a decade in Australia working for WMC Resources and BHP Billiton.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.