Ian Lawson begins at Barnsley-based firm next month

Ian Lawson

Steel contractor Billington has pulled off a coup after luring the former boss at bigger rival Severfield to become its chairman.

Ian Lawson takes up the non-executive role at the beginning of next month, having stepped down from the chief executive’s role in January after nearly a year’s absence due to ill health.

Prior to joining Severfield in late 2013, Lawson (pictured) spent 13 years at contractor Kier where he was appointed as an executive director in 2005 with responsibility initially for its services division and later the property division.

Mark Smith, chief executive of Billington, said: “[Lawson’s] wealth of experience and knowledge in the industry will be invaluable in guiding Billington.

Current non-exec chairman Peter Hems, who has held the position since 2007, will remain as a non-executive director until the end of the year.

The news comes as the firm saw pre-tax profit drop 13.4% to £1.9m on revenue up 15% to £39.4m for the six months to the end of June.

Billington said higher steel prices hit profits but Smith said the firm had a number of projects to start in the second half which meant the firm will meet its full year forecast.