Sir Maurice Laing, former chair of contractor John Laing, has died aged 90.

Laing was the first president of the CBI and received a knighthood for his work in 1965.

He joined his father’s business at 17 and was managing more than 80 men two years later.

His father handed responsibility to his two sons in 1945. Maurice Laing was appointed deputy chair, below his brother Kirby, in 1966. He was promoted chairman in 1976 and held the post until he retired in 1982.

Under his leadership Laing secured many historic projects such as the rebuilding of Coventry cathedral, London Central Mosque at Regent’s Park and several nuclear power stations.

Laing completed the construction of the three-lane M1 motorway in 1959 .

In 1988 he was appointed life president of John Laing.

Adrian Ewer, chief executive of John Laing, said: “We’re very saddened to hear he passed away.

“He was an impressive man with great determination. At the company we still try to live by his legacy.”