Firm poaches Buro Happold’s chief executive to head up its technical and engineering businesses

Paul Westbury

Laing O’Rourke has poached Buro Happold’s chief executive to head up its technical and engineering businesses.

The construction giant said today it had appointed Paul Westbury as its group technical director to lead its design and engineering work.

Westbury will sit on the group’s executive committee and report to Laing O’Rourke’s group chief executive Anna Stewart.

He is due to take-up the role this autumn.

Westbury Joined Buro Happold in 1991 straight from Cambridge university and became the firm’s youngest ever principal when he was made a partner at the age of 30.

He took up the role of Buro Happold chief executive in 2011.

Ray O’Rourke, chair Laing O’Rourke, said: “Paul brings an outstanding record of achievement and value creation having expanded Buro Happold into a successful international business.  I know he will help ensure Laing O’Rourke’s future success as we continue to meet the challenges of our industry head on.”

Stewart added that Westbury’s appointment marked “step change” in the firm’s “engineering ambitions”. 

She said: “With a broad executive remit, he will play a creative role in delivering innovative and sustainable solutions to meet our clients’ diverse needs.

“His experience of successfully running complex businesses known for developing cutting-edge ideas will greatly benefit the group as we evolve our strategic focus towards expanding the opportunities to deploy our design for manufacture and assembly approach.”

Westbury said: “I genuinely believe Laing O’Rourke has the strategic focus, the resources and most importantly, the right talent to lead the engineering and construction industry in an entirely new direction, setting the standards by which all other organisations in the sector will be measured.”