He will return from Australia to begin his new role at the start of the financial year on 1 April.
Sir John Parker, Laing O’Rourke group chair, said: “I am delighted that Cathal will take up the new position.
“He will work alongside his father Ray, as well as Des O’Rourke and the group and hub executive committees, to focus on performance and culture as we enter the next stage of our Deliver 2025 strategic plan.”
Cathal stepped down as managing director of the Australian business last year to take parental leave, after eight and a half years leading the business.
During his time in Australia, he shifted the business from a largely oil and gas contractor to a broader based business carrying out complex public infrastructure and defence work for the country’s State and Federal Governments.
Cathal said: “I am excited to be returning to work from our Europe Hub where it all started for me as a young engineer.
“I got the opportunity to go to Australia 13 years ago, thinking I would only be away for a short time.
“I’m looking forward to driving our unique culture – by putting our people and their diverse experiences at the heart of our offering to clients – enabled by our advanced technical capability.
“My partner and I will be returning to the UK with our nine-month-old daughter. This new group leadership role, and being closer to family, makes it an exciting time both professionally and personally.”