From the
organisers of
Concrete Show Logo

Laing O'Rourke announces leadership transition

A head and shoulders picture of an old man in a grey suit and tie wearing glasses Ray O’Rourke KBE, Laing O'Rourke's founder and Group CEO, steps down after 50 years of leadership.

Laing O'Rourke's founder and Group CEO, Ray O’Rourke KBE, steps down after 50 years of leadership.

Ray O’Rourke founded the company in 1977 as a formwork and concrete specialist. His contributions have driven innovation, productivity, and resilience within the sector.

Under Ray's leadership, Laing O'Rourke has heavily invested in digital and manufacturing technologies, improving the speed, safety, sustainability, and quality of project delivery. He has also focused on developing talent within the industry.

Ray will remain on the Group Board as deputy chair, alongside his brother Des. He will chair the Board Nomination Committee, lead innovations in construction methods, and support the Group CEO with customer and stakeholder engagement, mentoring, and advice.

The Board has appointed Cathal O’Rourke as the new Group CEO, effective 1 July 2024. Cathal, a graduate civil engineer, has held various leadership roles, including managing director in Australia and Group COO. He has been instrumental in advancing collaborative contracting and improving procurement and delivery of infrastructure programmes.

Commenting on his new role, Cathal said: “I am honoured to lead our business and committed to working with clients, partners, and stakeholders to drive positive change. We aim to transform our sector into a more sustainable and productive industry, while providing safe, challenging, and rewarding careers for our people.”

Ray expressed confidence in Cathal’s leadership: “I am delighted to hand over the CEO role to Cathal. Our people have achieved remarkable success, delivering complex engineering projects worldwide using advanced techniques. Cathal’s career in our family business gives me confidence that he will continue to uphold our values and principles.”

Sir John Parker, Chair of Laing O’Rourke, added: “We are fortunate to have Cathal as Ray’s successor. The Board has full confidence in Cathal’s experience and commitment to modernising the industry. Ray’s leadership has shaped the Group and its culture, and we are glad he will continue to offer guidance and mentorship.”