Press release

Howard Shiplee to lead Universal Credit Delivery

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.

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