Dr Hayaatun Sillem joins Laing O’Rourke board

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, joins Laing O’Rourke board.

Laing O’Rourke has appointed Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) and the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, to its board.

Sillem has been named as one of the ‘Inspiring 50 Women in Tech’ and one of the most influential women in engineering. She chairs the UK government’s Business Innovation Forum and the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment, and co-chaired Sir Lewis Hamilton’s Commission on Black Representation in motorsport.

Sir John Parker GBE FREng, the chair of Laing O’Rourke, said: “Hayaatun is an outstanding talent with extensive experience in working with government, and in UK and international engineering. Her knowledge and advocacy for the engineering profession, the environment, innovation and inclusion further enriches the range of skills we have established within the refreshed board membership over the past four years.”

Sillem has a masters in biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD from Cancer Research UK/UCL. She is a fellow of the IET and honorary professor at UCL. She was made a CBE for services to international engineering in 2019. Prior to her current roles, she was deputy CEO at the RAEng and served as committee specialist and later specialist adviser to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.

Following the appointment of Seamus French as group CEO in Q3 2022, both Ray O’Rourke and Des O’Rourke will become deputy chairs of the group board.

CEO Ray O’Rourke said: “I am thrilled that such an exceptional candidate will join our board. Hayaatun has the talent, knowledge and experience to add real value alongside our other board members, as we pursue an exciting future – and push the boundaries of what’s possible in our sector. The board has worked steadily on purpose, succession, renewal and the sustainability of our operations, as the company has continued to deliver solid financial performance and operational certainty for its clients.”

Sillem, who will attend her first Laing O'Rourke group board meeting as a non-executive director later this month, said: “I am delighted to be joining the board of this world-leading engineering company at such an exciting time. I am very much looking forward to bringing my passion for engineering excellence, innovation and inclusion to support the company’s growth and delivery of societal benefit.”

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