Balfour Beatty’s Ian Tyler has steered his company through government cuts and a downturn with an eye togrowth and a fierce intellect

Chief executive of the year, sponsored by KPMG: Ian Tyler

Balfour Beatty’s Ian Tyler is the man at the helm of what one of our judges termed “the most forward-thinking construction  business in the country.”

The 50-year-old, who was also named Building’s Chief Executive of the year three years ago, has gone from strength to strength in his leadership of one of construction’s highest-profile firms.

He has steered the company superbly through a period of spending cuts, maintaining profitability and presenting a clear vision for the future that has impressed the City.  And it’s not as if Tyler has taken the easy route to success.

The company’s acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff in September 2009 dramatically increased the size of its operations – and yet the company has been integrated without any fuss or hidden problems. The deal – masterminded by Tyler – has enabled Balfour Beatty to cement its stronghold in the US, putting just over half of Balfour’s turnover in across the Atlantic and so giving it a vital overseas boost at the time of narrowing opportunities in the UK.

Tyler may not be one to thrust himself into the public eye, but the immense personal influence he has had over the direction of the UK’s biggest construction firm should not be underestimated.

Having been at Balfour Beatty since 1996, and chief executive since January 2005, he has shaped the company into what it is today. As one City figure put it: “He mixes quiet conviviality with a fierce intellect and fierce capability, even though he plays it down.”