Whitmore had been in talks with Morgan Sindall’s executive chairman, John Morgan, since early February. He told his Laing colleagues shortly after Christmas that he intended to leave.
Whitmore will join four other main directors on the Morgan Sindall board, where he will have wide-ranging responsibilities over the group’s portfolio of businesses. This includes social housing business Lovell Partnership and fit-out businesses Morgan Lovell and Overbury.
“I will be looking across all the businesses at areas such as risk,” he said. “The businesses are also not fully mature in terms of profit and I will be looking to make an impact there as quickly as possible.
John runs a tight ship … I see myself as being the fifth Olympic ring
“John and his colleagues run a tight central ship,” Whitmore added. ”I see myself as being the fifth Olympic ring.”
Whitmore said he had moved to Morgan Sindall, a much smaller company than Laing in terms of turnover, because of its future prospects. “It’s a company which is burgeoning and wants to be a significant player in the future.” Laing has a £1.2bn turnover, compared with Morgan Sindall’s figure of £521m.
Morgan also stated publicly last month that consolidation makes sense for the construction industry. This is because he thinks the company’s market worth, currently at about £90m, is too small to attract large funds.