He is the company's first ever chief executive and the first non family member to be entrusted with such responsiblity within the firm.
The move is part of a wider reorganisation of the company that sees it restructured into two divisions: building and civil engineering. It also sees the next generation of the McAlpine family come to the fore, with cousins Gavin, Hector and Edward taking over from their fathers.
Tony Aikenhead leads a construction board that includes the three younger McAlpine family members. This eight-strong construction board reports to a new supervisory board comprised primarily of older family members David, Cullum and Andrew McAlpine, who all retreat to a more non-executive role in the day-day affairs of the construction business. Gavin McAlpine, 40, bridges the two boards by sitting on both.
Tony Aikenhead was employed by John Laing for 27 years, reaching the post of director of operations, before working for seven years with Hoffman La Roche, a Swiss healthcare company, as global head of international new buildings. He joined Sir Robert McAlpine in 2007 as project director of the London 2012 Olympic stadium project.
In a statement the company said: “The McAlpine family and the board of Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd have completed a review of the management and governance structure of the business. The review, which included feedback from clients and all staff, was undertaken to ensure the company is focused around key growth areas for the future. As a result Tony Aikenhead has now been appointed as chief executive of the company and will lead the construction board. This eight-strong board will be responsible for the overall performance of the company, which has now been structured into two divisions: Building, which remains organised by regions with sector and key account support; and Civil Engineering, a national division organised around key specialisms and skills. It will also oversee business development, risk and investment.
“Strong family representation on the construction board will ensure the company retains its traditional values and heritage as it embarks on a period of change and growth. Gavin McAlpine will become non-executive chairman, combining this with his role as executive chairman at RES, the McAlpine family’s renewable energy business; Hector McAlpine will become deputy chairman; and Edward McAlpine will take on the role of director of corporate development. Tony and the construction board will report directly into the new supervisory board of McAlpine family members, who will retain a close association with the business and provide support to the Building and Civil Engineering divisions.”
David McAlpine, who was previously chairman of the construction business and is now on the supervisory board, said: “The changes we are announcing today reflect the progression of the business and the natural generational succession of the McAlpine family. I am delighted that the new board structure retains the best of the company’s heritage through strong family engagement. I have absolute confidence in the vision, energy and focus of the new construction board.”