He joins Leicester-based EE Smith Contracts, which has built up annual revenue approaching £50m on luxury hotel, commercial and super-prime fit-out work.
Managing director Neil Bottrill said the appointment reflected the firm’s ambition for growth.
EE Smith employs 300 staff and traces its history back 122 years.
In 2016 a management buy-out backed by Maven Capital Partners saw four long-serving members of the team take over ownership of the business. Turnover has since almost doubled.
The firm recently finished a project to fit out the celebrity chef Tom Kerridge’s new restaurant at the Corinthia’hotel in London, and is working on the capital’s largest new hotel project, a 350-bed venue in Leicester Square as well as installing 453 bathrooms in the Battersea Power Station development.
Past projects include work on the UK Supreme Court, the Francis Crick Auditorium, The Savoy Hotel in London and the United Airlines Heathrow T2B departure lounge.
Bottrill said: “The management team have ambitions to keep growing the business.
“We are absolutely delighted that Ian has agreed to become our new non-executive Chairman. He has a wealth of experience at senior level within large plc businesses in the wider construction sector that will be hugely beneficial to our future growth and development.”
Lawson, who has more than 35 years’ experience within construction, added: “I am excited to be working with Neil, his colleagues and Maven Capital Partners to see just how far we can take this business by building on its reputation and identifying new opportunities.”