He replaces Gary Wells, the former Al Naboodah Construction chief executive who joined Laing O’Rourke in November 2013 but left in December 2015 after just two years in the job.
John Wilkinson joined Kier as part of the May Gurney acquisition in 2013. Up until then, he was managing director of public sector services at May Gurney. At Kier he has been executive managing director of the UK services division, heading a team of 12,000 across highways, utilities, facilities management, housing maintenance and environmental services.
At Laing O’Rourke he now reports to Europe managing director Paul Sheffield, the former Kier chief executive, although the two men worked together at Kier for less than a year.
Paul Sheffield said of Wilkinson’s appointment: “John’s experience and approach will be an outstanding addition to the Europe Hub team. I know his contributions will help us drive forward our ambitions of becoming a significant player in the infrastructure arena where we will be able to take full advantage of the huge schemes that we know are planned over the coming years, as well as delivering the exciting portfolio of work already on our books.”