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Ray O’Rourke postpones retirement


Ray O’Rourke has changed his mind about stepping down as chief executive of Laing O’Rourke and his appointed successor is on his way out.

“However, my experience tells me it is better to allow the established team to flex and respond to the market at this time. I am available to assist the business in any way I can, and I am grateful to the people of Laing O'Rourke for their support during my time with the company.”

In related moves, the board has brought forward the planned appointment of Ray’s son Cathal O’Rourke as a non-executive director and named him chair of the Australia Hub, taking over that role from his father. And Australia Hub managing director Rebecca Hanley has now joined the group board.

Ray O’Rourke said: “I would like to thank Seamus for all his hard work and commitment to our business. I consider him to be a genuine friend and advocate for our efforts to make our industry more respected, rewarded, sustainable and inclusive.”

“I am certain all Laing O’Rourke’s people, particularly those in the European businesses who worked directly alongside him this year, will join me in thanking Seamus for his time with us and for the way he has prioritised our long-term success at every point.”

The decision to postpone his retirement suggests that a planned stock marekt listing has been put on the back burner for the time being.

In August 2021 he told the Financial Times that he was looking for someone to take over from him running the company and would then sell up. “We will float the company in a few years’ time,” he said.

He has also previously said, in a 2017 interview with the Irish Independent: “I think it's unlikely that an IPO would happen while I'm still chief executive.”

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