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Stewart quits BAA as Douglas leaves Laing O’Rourke

Rob Stewart is to step down as construction director at airport operator BAA at the end of November to oversee the construction of the Ministry of Defence’s new technical college in Wales.

The college is due to open in 2014 and will house a joint training centre for the Army, Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force on a 400ha site at St Athan.

Stewart becomes construction director for facilities management provider Sodexo, a member of the project consortium.

The project is estimated to have a capital spend of around £700M and the £12bn, 25 year contract to deliver training and site services at the college was won by the Metrix consortium, of which Sodexo is part.

BAA business leader Nick Dent will take over as acting capital development director from 1 December.

Official departure

Meanwhile Laing O’Rourke has confirmed that Tony Douglas is to leave the group after a short handover. His official departure comes a month after NCE revealed that he had quit his role as chief operating officer for Europe and the Middle East and Asia and had been placed on gardening leave after an internal restructure (NCE 15 October).

Douglas joined Laing O’Rourke from BAA in 2007 on the understanding that he would take over as chairman and chief executive from Ray O’Rourke last August.

But the global economic crisis has forced Ray O’Rourke to rethink his plans. In a statement this week the firm said: “Having guided the group through a number of serious recessions in the past, it was felt appropriate for Ray O’Rourke to continue to focus on retaining cash and personally engaging with stakeholders in his ongoing leadership role.”

“We had agreed a transition. But Ray can’t now take his hands off the steering wheel and if I was in his place I would probably do the same,” Douglas told NCE.

“Ray & I as mates have agreed that now is the time for me to move on. This side of Christmas I will professionally hand over my responsibilities to other staff.”

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