Monro Exits Watpac As Lendlease Veteran O’Rourke Steps In

Just months after helping to orchestrate a takeover by Besix, Martin Monro has announced he will depart Watpac Limited, stepping down from his role as chief executive and managing director.

Despite telling AFR he was ‘excited for 2019’ as recently as early January, Monro will part ways with the Brisbane-based Besix subsidiary in June of this year. “I am keen to do other things,” Monro said of his decision to leave the company after 15 years. He will remain a strategic advisor to the Watpac board, after seven years as chief executive.

Monro is leaving to pursue new opportunities. Image source: AFR

Monro will be succeeded by Ben O’Rourke, a veteran of major Australian contractor Lendlease. O’Rourke has filled multiple roles in his 20-year career with Lendlease, including his most recent position as head of major projects within Lendlease’s ill-fated engineering division. O’Rourke returned to Australia in January of 2018 after 8 years in London, with his last 18 month spent as Managing Director of the  £2.4 billion International Quarter London project.

CEO of Besix, Rik Vandenberghe, welcomed O’Rourke’s appointment. “Ben brings extensive experience in construction and engineering, project management, PPP, property development and investment in addition to having held senior executive roles both locally and internationally,” he said.

Vandenberghe also thanked Monro, who was commended for his “significant job” in guiding Watpac through “challenging years,” of waning residential margins and underperformance from its mining sector before securing the $100 million lifeline from Besix late last year.

“Martin has worked tirelessly to ensure the business has remained strong and maintained its place as a leading Australian construction company,” said Vandenberghe. “His leadership of the company has ensured Watpac’s new CEO will lead a business that is well-placed to represent the interests of the wider BESIX Group and deliver innovative solutions for our clients.”

Of his appointment, O’Rourke said he was “delighted” to take on the role. “I look forward to the next exciting chapter as we reposition ourselves and grow,” he said.

O’Rourke will commence his role as CEO on June 3rd.

Catch up on this week’s industry news – Tuesday’s Federal Budget delivered big wins for Victorian infrastructure; work halted on Multiplex’s Collins Arch development; and Anton Capital acquired Golden Age’s Spring Street site.

Header image source: Watpac 

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