As we complete another lap of the calendar, our diarist stops to consider the effects of time on the vanity of human wishes, before moving smartly along to a story about Keith Clarke and nipple piercing

Life after Ray …

It’s that time of year when people turn a bloodshot eye to the year ahead, so what better moment to share with you the industry’s plans for the future. Or, at least, Laing O’Rourke’s plans to ensure a smooth transfer of power when Ray leaves the chief executive’s chair. The word is that a succession plan has been in place for quite some time. The general assumption has been that Ray’s son Cathal would rise from his current position as operations director, but I hear that this may prove a promotion too far at this stage. So could it be that Ray is planning to hand over day-to-day running of the business to Anna Stewart, Laing O’Rourke’s group commercial director, who is increasingly seen as his number two?

… and after Benny …

It also looks as if a management reshuffle is on the cards at Sir Robert McAlpine. I hear that Benny Kelly, the firm’s construction honcho, is considering taking more of a back seat after a couple of decades at the sharp end. So, if the company continues with its plans to develop the Olympic stadium, it may not be run by the man who gave the world Arsenal’s Emirates stadium. Whether or not it will be run by Vince Corrigan, Benny’s right hand man, remains to be seen.

… but is Paul making a comeback?

Paul Morrell’s retirement from Davis Langdon may be a little short lived. After spending a few months winding down while overseeing a project in the Bahamas, Morrell is being linked to a role overseeing design standards for the Olympic Delivery Authority. Apparently the ODA is looking for a candidate who not only has design credentials but has procurement experience, too. Which would seem to make former Cabe commissioner Morrell the ideal candidate …

Credit: Scott Garrett

Art on the wild side

Everyone needs some down time, away from the stresses and strains of the working day. It is no different for Keith Clarke, the chief executive of Atkins. While many in the construction industry enjoy a spot of sailing or the occasional round of golf, Clarke paints nude models at a life drawing class. He recalls one noteworthy occasion when a male model revealed not only a giant tattoo of Elvis on his back, but also pierced nipples and a pierced scrotum. All in the name of art, of course.

The adventures of Jason

Has former Bovis chief executive Jason Millett finally landed another job?

After months of speculation linking him to Skanska, Amec, and numerous regional posts, I hear that he may be joining a firm in the retail development sector. Given Millett’s fondness for Manchester, could it be that he is heading for Peel Holdings? After all they not only have Bovis connections but also oversaw the city’s Trafford centre.

Hello neighbour!

Some companies regard the ladies and gentlemen of the press with the warmth and affection traditionally reserved for cockroaches; others embrace us with bonhomie. But regardless of how contractor Balfour Beatty feels about journalists, we are going to be difficult to avoid. Last month, Balfour’s Scottish and Southern division relocated to Ludgate House in Blackfriars, just over the river from St Paul’s cathedral, which is home to a certain Building magazine. While the move was designed to bring Balfour closer to its clients, my colleagues are looking forward to bumping into them in the lifts …