Contractor appoints former Carillion Middle East boss as part of string of senior staff changes

Contractor Laing O’Rourke has hired the former boss of Carillion’s Middle-Eastern business as one part of a wide-ranging senior management reshuffle.

The appointments appear to show the £3.3bn turnover firm refocusing following a period of turmoil. In the 2011 financial year the publicity shy firm laid off more than 5,000 of its 17,000 European staff.

Laing O’Rourke confirmed that Nick Down, previously regional director for the Middle East at Carillion, will be joining the firm to lead its Middle-Eastern operation, reporting to Europe CEO Roger Robinson.

In addition Laing O’Rourke’s northern UK boss, Callum Tuckett, will take a new job as business unit leader for the UK construction business.

Meanwhile the present Middle-Eastern MD, Liam Cummins, is to become western region director of its £1.3bn Australian business, bolstering senior staff there.

A spokesperson for the firm said he was not aware of staff leaving the firm because of the changes.

In a statement the firm said: “Over one year ago Laing O’Rourke announced changes in the structure and leadership of the Europe and Australia hubs to accelerate its integration as a globally-focused engineering enterprise. Since then it has been generally pleased with the progress made and the opportunities that are emerging.”

Earlier this year Laing O’Rourke announced it had hired former Olympic Delivery Authority construction boss Howard Shiplee, although it has not confirmed his exact role. The changes are the latest in a series of reshuffles since the departure of Tony Douglas, former chief operating officer, in 2009 allowing chairman and chief executive Ray O’Rourke to retake direct control of the firm’s operations.

Laing O’Rourke has had recent success winning contracts to build the £340m Cheesegrater tower and a £600m biomedical research facility in King’s Cross, but it was forced to wind down its housing development arm due to low demand this year.