Labbad, 38, is CEO, Europe, Middle East & Africa at Lend Lease

What has been the hardest challenge you have faced to get to where you are now?

Downsizing through the downturn. The economic difficulties are what they are, however, the hardest thing to work through is having to make tough decisions which impact the people that work with you.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I can’t really say. I’ve never tried to plan ahead beyond 2-3 years. The world today is very dynamic so I know that whatever I think will be wrong. I know that in 3-4 years I want to have built Lend Lease into a leading property solutions provider across Europe.

Where do you see the construction industry going in the next year, three years and decade?

It’s going to be a tough 18 months. In three years I would hope that the market has begun to recover and in 10 who knows. The industry is changing and there is no way it will operate coming out of this down cycle in the same way it did going into it. The drive for cost efficiency and sustainability will demand innovation and client relationships will be something that will change significantly in the future as the industry becomes more complex.

What has been your career high point so far?

Being asked to run Lend Lease, including Bovis Lend Lease across Europe. When I joined Lend Lease I started in Bovis Lend Lease. I’m a builder at heart and it’s wonderful working in that part of the business again.

And the low point?

Dealing with the fall out when the down turn hit. While in retrospect it was a great lesson and humbling experience, it was painful realising the cold hard reality of the situation at the time.

Who is your hero?

My Italian Grandfather.

If you could take one thing with you to a desert island, what would it be?

The person I would take with me would be my partner Kristina.