Knights will continue to lead the MEP business while a successor is found and will help in the transition to new management.
He leaves as Wates enters redundancy consultations to slim the group business down by around 300 staff, many expected to come from the SES business.
Knights said: “I’ve worked with some incredible teams throughout my time at Wates, and I’m immensely proud of the role I’ve played in helping establish SES as a leading specialist contractor.
“However, the time is right to take on new challenges elsewhere, and I’m confident the business will continue delivering innovation to the UK’s MEP sector, as well as support the success of the Wates Group.”
Knights joined the private building group 10 years ago from Mace where he had been an MEP operations director. He was initially a regional services director for Wates Construction in London.
Later he developed Wates’ in-house mechanical, engineering and plumbing division, Wates Building Services before becoming managing director of SES in 2017, following its acquisition from the Shepherd Group in 2015.
During this time, Knights has helped spearhead the firm’s expansion into new and emerging sectors including high-tech builds, as well as the growth and relocation of its offsite manufacturing facility, Prism.
Paul Chandler, Group Managing Director, Wates Construction Group, said: “After 10 great years, Jason has now decided to pursue other opportunities outside of the Wates Group, and we wish him the very best for his future endeavours.
“I would personally like to thank him for the support he has given to the construction board and for helping to establish SES as an acknowledged leader in its field.”