New leadership team appointed at Sewell Construction as managing director prepares for retirement

One of the region’s longest-established companies has put a new leadership team in place as its Managing Director prepares for retirement.

Sewell Construction Managing Director Steve Gibson will retire next year and Rob Cawkwell will officially take over the role from April following a 14-month handover period.

The new team already has decades of combined experience at Sewell, having progressed in their careers through the business’ natural talent pipeline, which supports, inspires and encourages staff to grow in a vibrant organisation with opportunities open at every level.

The business, which has had its approach to ‘construction excellence’ formally recognised in an academic journal produced by The University of Hull Business School, is now set to continue growing across the region with continuity at the heart of the strategy.

Steve, who joined the business in March 1997 and became a Director in 2005, said: “This is the start of the transition and the next era.

“I’m immensely proud of the business and it’s a great place to work. It’s somewhere you can enjoy and be respected, and you’re not just a number.

“I will miss the people and the great things they can do. I have helped to develop some of them over the years and have even employed others. To see their growth is fantastic.

“Rob and the team know this business inside out and they are more than ready.”

Rob began his career at Sewell in January 1990 as a Trainee Quantity Surveyor at the age of 20 and has been involved in a host of major projects since then. He has been in his current position of Pre-Construction Director since 2011.

Mark Boothby and Chris Soper, who have spent the majority of their careers at Sewell, have also joined the board alongside Estates Director Sean Henderson.

Mark is now Operations Director at Sewell Construction, while Chris has taken on the Commercial Director role.

Rob said: “I’m excited because this new role covers a much wider remit for me across the business.

“My new team is a perfect balance of the skills and disciplines needed, and they all have specialities in different areas.

“Steve has been instrumental in my career in terms of how long we have worked together and how much I have learnt from him. I watched as he grew into the role and he leads by example.

“I have worked in all of the other divisions around the business in some form or another, so I have a great knowledge of how they fit and work together, and I want to make these links even tighter.”

Working with and on behalf of partners, Sewell Construction has recently refurbished the Grade II listed Hull New Theatre and created the new £10 million Ron Dearing University Technology College (UTC), transforming the Kingston Square area of Hull city centre.

Construction of the new £9 million Jean Bishop Integrated Care centre is also well underway on the site of the former David Lister School in East Hull.

Meanwhile, the business has grown from Hull to include West and North Yorkshire, including an extension and refurbishment of a hub and library in the heart of York and the recent completion of an extension and refurbishment at Athelstan Community Primary School in Sherburn in Elmet.

Paul Sewell, Managing Director of Sewell Group, said the management changes and new leadership team make for an exciting future, and Steve leaves a strong legacy.

He said: “This is continuity for the business to grow.

“These people have been appointed because they are the very best for the job.

“This is talent management in action and the people here are so hugely talented, there is no problem with them stepping up, as has also been the case with Sewell Facilities Management and Sewell on the go, where we have done exactly the same thing.

“People do business with people and our partners and customers appear to like the way we work.

“The individuals in the new leadership team have proved themselves in our culture, and with our customers, and I have absolute confidence in their strengths and abilities as we move forward as a business, building on the fantastic legacy Steve has created during his time here.

“As a Sunday Times Top 10 Place to Work for consecutive years, we strive to be a great place to work so we can be a great, innovative company to deal with.

“We have always tried to be a home for talent to get the very best people here. They, in turn, demand opportunities in a growing business.

“What you would expect from a company like this is happening and this is a huge positive for the business now and in the future.”