John Wilkinson replaces Gary Wells

Laing O’Rourke has announced the appointment of John Wilkinson as the firm’s new UK infrastructure managing director.

He replaces Gary Wells, who abruptly left the firm late last year.

Wilkinson has over 25 years experience covering all aspects of civil engineering, building and support services. Most recently he was managing director of Kier’s UK services division, where he managed a 12,000-strong team across highways, utilities, facilities management, housing maintenance and environmental services.

Paul Sheffield, managing director at Laing O’Rourke’s Europe Hub said Wilkinson would be an “outstanding addition” to the team.

Laing O’Rourke’s infrastructure division recently made it onto the shortlist for the £12bn HS2 enabling works between London and Birmingham, as part of the LFM consortium which also includes FCC and J Murphy & Sons.

Sheffield added that he believed Wilkinson would help “drive forward” the company’s ambitions of becoming a significant player in the infrastructure arena enabling it to take full advantage of the huge infrastructure pipeline.

Wilkinson will also lead the Infrastructure board.

Laing O’Rourke is currently in the process of selling its £1.5bn Australian operations after holding a strategic review of the business.

The firm - which posted a £58m pre-tax loss on revenue of £3.85bn in its last set of results to March 2015 – is also axing around 200 jobs in the UK, predominantly from its support functions and from streamlining its regional office networks.