Laing O’Rourke team prioritises stability and continuity with Ray O’Rourke to stay as CEO


Ray O’Rourke will remain CEO of Laing O’Rourke after agreeing with Europe Hub Managing Director Seamus French that not proceeding with their proposed handover in Q3 FY23 was in the best interests of the business and its clients, given wider market conditions.

Laing O’Rourke Chair Sir John Parker said the decision had been reached after discussions between he, Ray and Seamus in light of the current environment.

“Since signing off the Group accounts for FY22, Seamus and Ray have been focussed on the challenges of completing a CEO leadership transition during a period of significant economic turbulence here in the UK. We have agreed to ‘hold formation’ and that Seamus will step down from his transitional role as Europe Managing Director with Ray remaining as CEO.” Sir John said.

“Seamus has brought great energy to the business in Europe since January and the Board wishes to place on record our thanks to him and wish him well for the future.”

“As outlined in our Group FY22 results, the business has continued to perform strongly, growing revenue and underlying EBIT for FY22 while adding £1.1BN to our order book.”

Seamus said his time at Laing O’Rourke had been dynamic and engaging, but he was convinced the business should prioritise stability and continuity during this period.

“I have thrown myself into this role and found the industry tough but exciting and have grown extremely fond of the ‘can-do’ environment and personal engagement at Laing O’Rourke,” he said.

“However, my experience tells me it is better to allow the established team to flex and respond to the market at this time. I am available to assist the business in any way I can, and I am grateful to the people of Laing O'Rourke for their support during my time with the company.”

Sir John said the Board had endorsed the decision, and had:

  • Requested Ray O’Rourke continue as Group CEO and Europe MD for the next two financial years. Ray will incorporate the work done by Seamus, alongside the long-serving and experienced Laing O’Rourke leadership team, to drive the strategic plan forward
  • Strengthened governance by bringing forward the appointment of Cathal O’Rourke as a Non-Executive Director
  • Agreed Cathal would also relieve his father Ray as Chair of the Australia Hub
  • Appointed Australia Hub Managing Director Rebecca Hanley to join the Group Board, effective from November 2022.

Ray O’Rourke concluded:

“I would like to thank Seamus for all his hard work and commitment to our business. I consider him to be a genuine friend and advocate for our efforts to make our industry more respected, rewarded, sustainable and inclusive.”

“I am certain all Laing O’Rourke’s people, particularly those in the European businesses who worked directly alongside him this year, will join me in thanking Seamus for his time with us and for the way he has prioritised our long-term success at every point.”