Laing O’Rourke appoints globally renowned engineer, Paul Westbury, as Group Technical Director

Laing O’Rourke today announced the appointment of Paul Westbury as Group Technical Director. In this new strategic role, Paul will have global responsibility for Laing O’Rourke’s technical and engineering functions, including the Engineering Excellence Group; and will lead the development of the Group’s design and engineering offering to underpin the organisation’s growth strategy.

He will serve on the Laing O’Rourke Group Executive Committee and will report to Anna Stewart, chief executive of Laing O’Rourke. He will take up his post in the autumn of 2014 following a period of handover of duties to his successor at his current employer.

Paul joins the company with more than 23 years’ experience within the global technical design and engineering consultancy industry. Most recently he served as chief executive officer of Buro Happold, the 27-office global engineering practice, leading a diverse portfolio focused on engineering and design management, specialist consulting and technical services. Prior to his appointment as CEO, Paul was managing director for the European business, overseeing all of the region’s offices and activities. He joined Buro Happold in 1991 having graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge with a first class degree in engineering science. In 2000 he became the consultancy’s youngest ever principal when he was made a partner and director at 30.

Paul is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce. In 2008 he was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for his contribution to British engineering. He was named in The Times top 100 scientists list of 2010 and is a member of the judging panel for the newly launched Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering; a global award that seeks to recognise and reward the pivotal role that engineering plays in society today, something that Paul is passionate about. In May 2012 he was awarded the highly coveted Gold Medal from the Institution of Structural Engineers, which celebrates his many and varied achievements in the field of structural engineering.

In January 2013 Paul was recognised for his services to engineering and construction in the UK’s New Years Honours list and awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).

Commenting on the appointment, Group Chief Executive of Laing O’Rourke, Anna Stewart said,

“We are delighted that Paul has agreed to join us and lead the next stage of Laing O’Rourke’s engineering development. He has a global reputation as a leading expert in the design and delivery of multi-award winning buildings and infrastructure, and his appointment marks a step change in our engineering ambitions.

“With a broad executive remit, he will play a creative role in delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to meet our clients’ diverse needs. His experience of successfully running complex businesses known for developing cutting-edge ideas 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 extremely proud that Paul will lead Laing O’Rourke’s engineering activities, working alongside the incredibly talented engineers we already employ, who are inspired to deliver whatever is needed on our projects with intelligence, ingenuity and integrity. Paul brings an outstanding record of achievement and value creation having expanded Buro Happold into a successful international business. I know he will help ensure Laing O’Rourke’s future success as we continue to meet the challenges of our industry head on.”

Commenting on his new role, Paul Westbury said,

“I am thrilled to be joining Laing O’Rourke at such an exciting point in its development. I genuinely believe it has the strategic focus, the resources and most importantly, the right talent to lead the engineering and construction industry in an entirely new direction, setting the standards by which all other organisations in the sector will be measured.

I am passionate about my profession, and this new role will enable me to continue to be an ambassador for engineering globally, raising its profile as a leader in providing solutions for many of the major life-changing issues that society is facing today and in the future.”