Laing O’Rourke has made a surprise appointment from architect Building Design Partnership to bolster its senior management team,

Chief executive Ray O’Rourke has hired BDP’s former chief executive Roy Adams as executive director of its radical innovation group (RIG).

Adams has been brought in to help Laing O’Rourke offer a more integrated construction service.

As head of the RIG, Adams will be responsible for creating best practice among the design and delivery, sustainability, health and safety, human resources, business delivery and business development divisions.

Ray O’Rourke described the appointment as a “major coup” and said that “RIG is at the epicentre of the continual change we are driving through our business”.

The position has been created for Adams, who will start his role in January, based in Dartford.

Adams said that after being elected chief executive for five consecutive two-year terms, he decided not to stand for re-election earlier this year as he was ready for a fresh challenge. He was replaced by Peter Drummond in October but was still working at BDP when he was approached by Laing O’Rourke.

“During the middle of the year I met Ray for the first time and we found we had a lot in common, especially regarding process innovation,” said Adams.

“I explained I was not looking to be a career chief executive, and instead was looking much more for a strategic role. This seemed ideal.”

“I was very impressed by Ray’s passion and what struck me was that Laing O’Rourke was much more akin to a design community than a traditional builder,” he added.

According to Adams, the RIG is not intended to create a large overhead for the business – rather it will be a small group of people creating ideas to change the business overall.

Adams started his career at BDP and although he left to join the planning department of various local councils he returned the company in 1974 and spent 31 years of his career at the firm.

During his decade as CEO, he built BDP into the country’s biggest architect, with more than 800 staff and annual fees of £61m.

Roy Adams' CV

1965-68 Queen's University Belfast, BA English and Geography
1969-70 Planning assistant, BDP
1970-71 Planning assistant, Belfast council
1971-74 Senior planner, Worcester council
1974-94 Variety of roles at BDP, including office chairman in Belfast, London and Paris
1994-04 Chief executive, BDP