London | Lendlease has taken the steady-as-she-goes option in its fast-growing business in Britain and Italy, elevating the Europe division’s chief operating officer, Neil Martin, to replace his boss Dan Labbad as the regional CEO.
In picking Mr Martin, a lawyer by trade, the company has made continuity its watchword: he has been at Lendlease Europe for more than 20 years and has held a range of senior roles.
Still, he has big shoes to fill: he takes over from Mr Labbad, who ran the London shop for eight years, at a time when the European operations have been one of the global group’s better performers.
In the past year the European division has been reeling in new projects. At the end of June, the European business accounted for 44 per cent of the company’s $76.1 billion development pipeline. And that’s not including two new British contracts still in train, worth a combined $17.2 billion, which could push Europe’s share of the pipeline towards 50 per cent.
Full-year development revenue from Europe grew almost 175 per cent in the year to June 30, to $544 million, although earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) dropped sharply, falling 66 per cent to $37 million.
The European business makes a relatively smaller contribution to the construction side of the business than Australia and Asia: European construction revenue is only 10 per cent of the $9.7 billion worldwide total, and Europe accounts for just 12 per cent of new work secured.
But European construction revenue jumped 38 per cent in the recent full-year result and EBITDA almost doubled, outpacing the company’s other geographic segments.
“It’s an exciting time for our Europe business, which has secured a circa £19 billion [$34 billion] pipeline of urbanisation projects that will transform a number of gateway cities,” Lendlease CEO Steve McCann said in a statement.
“Neil’s years of experience will help our Europe business continue to thrive and create the outstanding places that our customers have come to expect from Lendlease.”
Mr Martin rises to become one of the company’s top eight executives, and reports directly to Mr McCann. He can expect to take home a base salary in the vicinity of Mr Labbad’s $1.3 million package.
Mr Labbad’s departure was announced in April. The Australian Lendlease veteran is remaining in London to take the role of CEO at The Crown Estate, managing and developing the Queen’s public property portfolio.
Mr Martin, who is British, has previously been the Europe division’s general counsel and the managing director of its construction business, as well as the company’s global head of safety, risk and insurance.
He has a degree in building, and first worked at Lendlease in 1990 as a project manager. He then went back to college to get a law qualification, and rejoined the company as a lawyer in 1999.
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