Laing O’Rourke adds non-exec to board


Hayaatun Sillem

Hayaatun Sillem will attend her first Laing O’Rourke group board meeting as a director later this month.

Dr Sillem has a degree in biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD from Cancer Research UK/UCL. She was appointed CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering in January 2018 and chairs the UK government’s Business Innovation Forum.

She is a fellow of the Institution of Engineering & Technology and has advised the House of Commons science & technology committee. She co-chaired Sir Lewis Hamilton’s commission on black representation in motorsport.

Dr Sillem joins former Deloitte partner Greg Branch and investment banker Charlotte Valeur as Laing O’Rourke’s non-executive directors.

Laing O’Rourke chair Sir John Parker said: “Hayaatun is an outstanding talent with extensive experience in working with government, and in UK and international engineering. Her knowledge and advocacy for the engineering profession, the environment, innovation and inclusion further enriches the range of skills we have established within the refreshed board membership over the past four years.”

Chief executive Ray O’Rourke said: “Hayaatun has the talent, knowledge and experience to add real value alongside our other board members, as we pursue an exciting future – and push the boundaries of what’s possible in our sector. The board has worked steadily on purpose, succession, renewal and the sustainability of our operations, as the company has continued to deliver solid financial performance and operational certainty for its clients.”

Dr Sillem said:  “I am very much looking forward to bringing my passion for engineering excellence, innovation and inclusion to support the company’s growth and delivery of societal benefit.”

Laing O’Rourke is reshaping its board ready for a planned flotation sometime in the next couple of years. As previously reported, former Anglo American executive Seamus French is set to take over as group chief executive in September, at which point co-owners Ray O’Rourke and Des O’Rourke will become deputy chairs of the group board.

The full Laing O’Rourke board, currently, is:

  • Sir John Parker – chair
  • Ray O’Rourke – chief executive and deputy chair
  • Des O’Rourke – deputy chair
  • Seamus French – Europe hub managing director and CEO-designate
  • Rowan Baker – chief financial officer
  • Charlotte Valeur – non-executive director
  • Greg Branch – non-executive director
  • Hayaatun Sillem  – non-executive director.

Cathal O’Rourke, currently managing director of the Australia Hub, is set to become a non-executive director later this year.

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