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Fri February 26 2021

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Buro Happold chief jumps to Laing O’Rourke

9 Jun 14 Paul Westbury has joined Laing O’Rourke as group technical director.

Paul Westbury
Paul Westbury

He will have global responsibility for Laing O’Rourke’s technical and engineering functions, including the Engineering Excellence Group.

He will serve on the Laing O’Rourke group executive committee and will report to chief executive Anna Stewart. He will take up his post in the autumn of 2014 following a period of handover of duties to his successor at his current employer, Buro Happold, where he has been chief executive since 2011.

The appointment of Paul Westbury represents quite a coup for Laing O’Rourke and signals a clear determination for the company to become as noted for engineering excellence as for construction contracting. He is widely considered to be the UK's leading engineer of his generation.

Aged 43 he has already achieved more in his career than is humanly decent. Projects he has worked on include: the 2012 Olympic Stadium, the Millennium Dome and the Emirates Stadium in London; Dublin’s Aviva Stadium; the 2006 Winter Olympics Speed Skating Oval in Turin; and the Arizona Cardinals Stadium in Phoenix.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture & Commerce.

In 2008 he was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal for his contribution to British engineering. In May 2012 he was awarded the Institution of Structural Engineers Gold Medal. In 2013 he was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire).

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He joined Buro Happold in 1991 having graduated from Jesus College, Cambridge with a first class degree in engineering science.  In 2000 he became the consultancy’s youngest ever principal when he was made a partner and director at just 30.

Anna Stewart said: “We are delighted that Paul has agreed to join us and lead the next stage of Laing O’Rourke’s engineering development.  He has a global reputation as a leading expert in the design and delivery of multi-award winning buildings and infrastructure, and his appointment marks a step change in our engineering ambitions. 

“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.”

Chairman Ray O’Rourke said: “We are extremely proud that Paul will lead Laing O’Rourke’s engineering activities, working alongside the incredibly talented engineers we already employ, who are inspired to deliver whatever is needed on our projects with intelligence, ingenuity and integrity.  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.”

Paul Westbury himself said: “I am thrilled to be joining Laing O’Rourke at such an exciting point in its development.  I genuinely believe it 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.

“I am passionate about my profession, and this new role will enable me to continue to be an ambassador for engineering globally, raising its profile as a leader in providing solutions for many of the major life-changing issues that society is facing today and in the future.”

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