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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced Howard Shiplee, an Executive Director at the Laing O’Rourke Group will join DWP in May.

The Department for Work and Pensions today announced that Howard Shiplee, currently an Executive Director at the Laing O’Rourke Group, will join the Department in mid-May to lead the delivery of Universal Credit.

Prior to his current role, Mr Shiplee was Director of Construction for the London 2012 Olympics - one of the largest regeneration and construction programmes in Europe.  Before that he directed a number of major business transformation and construction projects including, most recently, the Ascot Racecourse redevelopment, the Network Rail/Thameslink performance upgrade, the GCHQ new building development, and Airport Terminal developments in Hong Kong and Manchester.

Commenting on Mr Shiplee’s appointment, Permanent Secretary for Work and Pensions, Robert Devereux, said:

I am delighted to welcome Howard Shiplee to the Department.  Howard has a wealth of experience in the successful delivery of projects of significant scale and complexity.  His know how and experience will be invaluable as we begin the roll-out of Universal Credit.

I would also like to thank David Pitchford who stepped in at short notice to lead the project while a successor to Philip Langsdale was found.  As scheduled, David will be returning to his role as Chief Executive of the Major Projects Authority after his three months at the DWP are complete.

Howard Shiplee, said:

The DWP is delivering the most important and far reaching reform to the welfare system in a generation. I am delighted to be joining the DWP during such a key period of change and am excited by the challenges ahead and the opportunity to work with colleagues throughout the organisation to deliver this significant landmark programme. I’d also like to record my gratitude to Laing O’Rourke for expediting my release to take up this exciting challenge.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Howard Shiplee’s early career was in engineering and management positions with Sir Alfred McAlpine, Cemenatation Construction, John Howard and Company and with Shell UK. He then moved to the Middle East as a Senior Manager and then General Manager with the Al Qahtari Group in Saudi Arabia. Returning to the UK, he joined Bovis Construction as Divisional Director then moved to Capitaland as Director of Building, before joining GCHQ as Director of Construction.

Following this he moved to Amec Construction where he was Project Director for new international airport terminals in Manchester and Hong Kong.

From there he moved to be Programme Director for the Thameslink Performance Upgrade before being appointed as the Redevelopment Chief Executive for Ascot Racecourse.

In 2006 he joined the Olympic Delivery Authority as Director for Construction responsible for delivering the infrastructure and major venues for the London 2012 Olympics - delivering an industry changing performance. Finally over the last two years he has been executive director at Laing O’Rourke Group and, in parallel, a non-executive director for the Health and Safety Executive.

  1. David Pitchford stepped in at short notice to lead the Universal Credit project while a successor to Philip Langsdale was found. David will be returning to his role as Chief Executive of the Major Projects Authority after his three months at the DWP are complete.
  2. Mr Shiplee will be stepping down from his role as a non-executive director of the Health and Safety Executive.

Dr. Catherine Raines has been appointed as UKTI’s Director-General for Trade & Investment, based in Beijing.

Dr. Catherine Raines, New Minister and Director-General for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), China.

Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador to China announced the appointment of Dr. Catherine Raines, New Minister and Director-General for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), China.

Sebastian Wood said:

I’m delighted to announce to UK business colleagues in China that Dr. Catherine Raines has been appointed as UKTI’s Director-General for Trade & Investment, based in Beijing.

Many of you will have met Catherine already, as she has been very hard at work since her arrival in China a fortnight ago. She is currently busy with an intensive programme of meetings with key stakeholders, colleagues and business people.

Catherine was previously Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place at Staffordshire County Council, where she successfully undertook the transformation of an organisation of over 5000 people, in the process propelling the county to the top of the 2011-12 UK leaderboard for jobs created through inward investment. This included a £355 million inward investment in the UK from Tata, India, creating over 300 jobs for Jaguar Land Rover. During this period, Catherine also worked closely with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Prior to this, Catherine has had Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 private sector experience spanning more than 20 years, including periods spent living and working in the UK, USA, Sweden and China. Her early experience was in international production and programme management; later moving into global, corporate leadership roles. Most recently, she held the role of Vice President Corporate Development (China) for AstraZeneca, based in Shanghai. In this role, she chaired the cross-functional group that oversaw the move of AstraZeneca’s global functions into China and led investment in local real estate in 2006 of over $200 million.

In the UK Catherine has held non-executive Board positions at HM Land Registry, the Whitehall and Industry Group and the Criminal Records Bureau and also sat on the national steering group for Association of Directors of Economy, Environment, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).

Catherine is delighted to be returning to China in such an important role for the UK. She wants to work hard, together with colleagues, to ensure that UK businesses are able to exploit Chinese opportunities to the full and that Chinese investment is welcomed in the UK.

For our part, both I and Nick Baird, UKTI Chief Executive, are delighted to have successfully recruited an individual with Catherine’s strong track record in business and we look forward to her taking the reins of UKTI in China.

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