Andrew Wilson appointed by Lend Lease as managing director on a £3.7bn project in Sydney

Laing O’Rourke has lost the chief executive of its Australian operation to Lend Lease after his relocation to Australia as part of a major push by the contractor to expand its global empire.

Lend Lease has poached Andrew Wilson for the position of managing director (development) on a £3.7bn (AU$6bn) mixed-use project in Sydney.

Laing O’Rourke prioritised Australia as part of the 2020 plan for global expansion, which aimed for it to be a leader in key infrastructure sectors, including mining and oil and gas.

Wilson has since been replaced by former Laing O’Rourke chief operating officer for Australia Steve Hollingshead, who also relocated there.

A Laing O’Rourke spokesperson commented: “Steve Hollingshead has been chief executive of the Australian hub operation since early February, having previously been chief operating officer of the business. [Former Sydney 2000 Olympics boss] Jim Sloman continues as chairman of the Australian hub.”

The spokesperson added that no replacement had been made for the chief operating officer role and that the duties of the two positions were both being performed by Hollingshead.

Wilson will commence his new role in May 2011. He will have responsibility for the Barangaroo South urban regeneration project in Sydney, which is due to include office and residential projects and plans for the city’s first luxury hotel in a decade.

Lend Lease’s hire of Wilson comes as it rejigs its own senior management. Former UK chief executive Murray Coleman has moved from being group head of project management and construction to managing director for the Australian project management and construction business, with group responsibility for environment, health and safety and risk and insurance. Rod Leaver, the current chief executive of the Australian business, will become Asian chief executive from April.