08 MAR 2023


Laing O’Rourke has appointed Cathal O’Rourke as group chief operating officer.

He will return to the UK from Australia to begin the newly created role at the start of the financial year on 1 April.

The creation of the COO role will assist the group and Europe executive teams to work more closely together and share learning and best practice across the company’s international operations. 

Commenting on O’Rourke’s appointment, Sir John Parker, Laing O’Rourke group chair, said: “He will work alongside his father Ray, as well as Des O’Rourke and the group and hub executive committees, to focus on performance and culture as we enter the next stage of our Deliver 2025 strategic plan.” 

O’Rourke will also support the recently updated business unit leadership team in Europe and be responsible for maximising the return of the company’s investments in strategic initiatives. He stepped down as managing director of the Australian business last year to take parental leave, after eight and a half years leading the hub and as a member of the group executive. 

During his time in Australia, he’d transitioned the business from a largely oil and gas resources focus to secure a broad pipeline of complex public infrastructure and defence work for the country’s state and federal governments. 

As their Australian managing director and president of the Australian Constructors’ Association (ACA), he was instrumental in the sector’s transition to more collaborative contracting, including early engagement models and incentives for high performance. 

Prior to leading the business in Australia, he had operational business unit leader roles in both hubs, in main contracting and the specialist businesses. 

Commenting on his new appointment, he said: “I am excited to be returning to work from our Europe hub where it all started for me as a young engineer. 

“I got the opportunity to go to Australia 13 years ago, thinking I would only be away for a short time. I’m keen to reconnect with those I know from back then, while getting to know the great people who’ve joined since. 

“I’m looking forward to driving our unique culture – by putting our people and their diverse experiences at the heart of our offering to clients – enabled by our advanced technical capability. 

“My partner and I will be returning to the UK with our nine-month-old daughter. This new group leadership role, and being closer to family, makes it an exciting time both professionally and personally.” 

O’Rourke will attend the March meeting of the group board and then manage his transition from Sydney to the company’s Dartford headquarters during April.


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