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Sun June 20 2021

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Wates restructure generates leadership shuffle

21 Jul 20 Wates Group is restructuring to position itself for the changing shape of workload expected in the years ahead.

Helen Bunch becomes executive managing director of Wates Residential
Helen Bunch becomes executive managing director of Wates Residential

More house-building more public sector work and more offsite construction appear to be the themes.

Chief executive David Allen said: “The last four months have challenged all of us in new ways.  Working together, the team here at Wates has met those challenges with great ingenuity, determination and success.  Our business and our strategy have been tested and have proved to be robust.  We are now adjusting our structure to focus on the great opportunities that we believe lie ahead in our key sectors.  These changes give us the best possible prospects of thriving in the current environment and once the coronavirus crisis has passed and we’re confident that our future direction is clear.”

To help it grow, Wates Residential becomes a standalone business, with Helen Bunch as its executive managing director. She joined Wates in 2006 as group strategy before becoming MD of the fit-out and refurbishment division, Wates Smartspace. She replaces Paul Nicholls, who joined Wates Residential from United House four years ago.

From 1 August, Wates Smartspace becomes a division within Wates Property Services, joining Wates Living Space and Wates FM under the leadership of David Morgan as executive managing director, Wates Property Services.

Wates said that this move “reflects the Smartspace business strategy to have a more balanced public/private sector portfolio and should allow it to benefit from the group’s strong existing public sector relationships, as well as the opportunities to share skills and create cost efficiencies”.  A new Smartspace MD will be appointed in the coming weeks.

The  construction business will now be focusing more on design and offsite manufacturing, and look to strengthen its capabilities in complex sectors, such as healthcare.  Following their collaboration during lockdown on a landmark project to build a new intensive care unit for the Royal London Hospital in only five weeks, SES Engineering Services, Wates Building Services and Prism – Wates’ specialist offsite manufacturing facility – will be brought together under the umbrella of Wates Integrated Construction Services (WICS). 

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Rob Clifford, managing director of Wates Integrated Construction Services
Rob Clifford, managing director of Wates Integrated Construction Services

Rob Clifford, currently MD of Wates Building Services, has been appointed managing director, WICS, reporting to Paul Chandler, executive director, construction. 

Steve Joyce becomes managing director of SES, replacing Jason Knights, who resigned last month.

Wates expects approximately 70% of turnover to be from public sector customers next year. To bolster this, strategy director Steve Beechey now fills the newly-created position of group public sector director. 

Helen Rieman, partnerships director
Helen Rieman, partnerships director

David Brocklebank, executive MD Wates Developments, will oversee the creation of a new Wates Partnerships business to generate turnkey opportunities. Investment director Natalie Flint will continue to lead Development Agency Services, helping customers generate more value from their investments in housing and overseeing marketing and sales.  Helen Rieman, former head of business development and partnerships at United Living, joins Wates Developments as partnerships director to help win business in housing, build to rent and senior living schemes where Wates can combine its land, development, contracting, sales and facilities management capabilities. 

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