Lendlease appoints former Leighton boss to engineering unitSt Helena Road Tunnel on the Pacific Highway, NSW, was constructed by Lendlease's engineering business and opened to traffic in December 2015. Photo: Supplied

Lendlease appoints former Leighton boss to engineering unit

Lendlease has appointed Craig Laslett as head of its Australian engineering unit, which has more than $2 billion worth of business.

Mr Laslett joins Lendlease from CIMIC Group – formerly Leighton Holdings – where he was the managing director for engineering, innovation and capability.

The appointment follows a number of significant projects secured by Lendlease in late 2015.

“It’s exciting to be joining a team demonstrating world-class engineering capability, delivering complex projects like NorthConnex in Sydney and the recently-awarded Gateway Upgrade North and Kingsford Smith Drive projects in Brisbane,” Mr Laslett said.

“As a business we are positive about the future disciplined growth of our engineering business across Australia.”

Engineering profit is not broken out, but as of June 2015, Lendlease’s backlog revenue for the engineering business was $2.3 billion.

Mr Laslett has a seat on the board of the Australian Constructors Association, The College of Leadership and Management, Engineers Australia and CareerTrackers, which is one of Lendlease’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) partners.

Divisions overhauled

Lendlease overhauled its construction and engineering divisions in March last year ahead of the retirement of David Saxelby, who was head of construction and infrastructure in Australia, in September 2015.

As part of the restructure, the construction and infrastructure unit was was absorbed into the contractor’s wider construction and engineering unit.

The move dissolved the remaining distinct identity of the Baulderstone, Abigroup and Conneq businesses acquired in the Valemus acquisition in 2011, which Mr Saxelby was charged with integrating.

The reshuffle meant Lendlease’s building, engineering and services businesses now come under chief risk officer Bob McNamara. Brian Gillon was last year appointed as acting managing director of the engineering business following Mr Saxelby’s departure.

The restructure followed what was regarded by some analysts as a relatively weak construction result in February 2015, where revenue fell more than 20 per cent compared with the same period the year before.

UBS in August also downgraded the Australian construction business for the third time in 12 months, driven by project cancellations such as East West Link, a project mix that involved lower margin building and larger long-dated projects.

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