Wates rejigs businesses as veteran leader retires

Aaron Morby 2 weeks ago

Wates Construction Group managing director Paul Chandler is retiring at the end of this year, after a 42-year career in construction.

The industry veteran joined Wates from Skanska in 2017 and grew the construction arm from around £700m to £1.3bn turnover, delivering profitable growth year on year.

His decision to retire comes as Wates chief executive Eoghan O’Lionaird makes changes to realign parts of the business.

Steff Battle, presently managing director in Wates’ construction division, will now take up the role of executive managing director joining the main group executive committee.

Smartspace – currently part of Wates Property Services – will move across to become part of the Construction Group in a shift designed to expand the offer to clients.

The mechanical and electrical business SES Engineering Services, which was part of the Construction Group, will split away now become a standalone division, alongside Construction, Residential, Developments and Wates Property Services divisions.

This change coming into force at the start of 2025 will enable the business to continue to grow and pursue more and larger projects.

SES Engineering Services has grown significantly in recent years, with turnover increasing 73% to £299m and nearly doubling pre-tax profit to £5.8m in 2023.

The move to become its own division will see Rob Clifford, current managing director of SES, become executive managing director, joining the Wates group executive committee.

Eoghan O’Lionaird, chief executive of Wates Group, said: “We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt gratitude to Paul for his years of dedicated service to Wates.

“The business has thrived under his leadership, increasing revenue and profit, providing opportunity and employment to more and more people and increasing its positive impact on the local communities it serves.”

He added: “Wates is on a strong trajectory and we are excited for the years ahead.

“We believe moving Smartspace into the Construction Group and setting up SES Engineering Services as its own business division will stand us in good stead to continue our record-breaking growth.”

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