Following French media speculation, France’s third-largest contractor Eiffage named Benoît de Ruffray as chairman and CEO on Dec. 9, replacing Pierre Berger, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Oct. 23 at age 47. De Ruffray, 49, who takes over on Jan. 18, has been CEO of Soletanche Freyssinet, a unit of rival French contractor Vinci, since March. Berger also had been chief of a Vinci construction group when Eiffage founder Francois Roverato recruited him to that firm’s executive ranks in 2010. Named chairman and CEO in 2012, Berger was key to growth at Eiffage, which had $14.4 billion in 2014 revenue. De Ruffray also held several global executive roles at contractor Bouygues, including deputy CEO of its international building group.
Anna Stewart, CEO of U.K. construction giant Laing O’Rourke Group, is leaving the post for unspecified health reasons but will remain at the firm in an undefined strategic support role, Ray O’Rourke, company founder and executive chairman, said on Dec. 9. He replaces Stewart, who had been CEO since 2013. The change comes as the firm faces more of the “challenging times” Stewart predicted in September, when the firm said that its European division lost $88.3 million in its latest year ending in March and that overall corporate revenue fell 13% to $5.86 billion, although Australia operations did well. U.K. publication Construction Enquirer speculated on Dec. 11 that a search by O’Rourke, 68, for a permanent successor “could turn into the hunt for a buyer.”
Jayathi Murthy takes over on Jan. 1 as dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. She now is chair of the mechanical engineering department at the University of Texas, Austin. In an online interview with UCLA, she termed the school “one of the public Ivies” and said its location near the Pacific Rim and Latin America gives the engineering program “an enormous advantage.”
Eric Stenman has taken on the added role of chief operating officer of Balfour Beatty Construction U.S. He remains CEO of the contractor’s San Diego-based West region covering four states and head of its national mission critical business unit.
John Corsi, 48, a CH2M Vice President, Dies Suddenly
John T. Corsi, 48, vice president of media and public relations at professional services and program management giant CH2M and an 18-year company employee, died suddenly on Dec. 5 in Denver. The cause of death was not disclosed. Corsi directed the $6.5-billion global firm’s communications and public affairs strategies. He also previously served as communications director of Kaiser-Hill Co., the firm’s joint venture that managed, in the 1990s, the $7-billion closure of the Rocky Flats former nuclear weapons production site near Denver. A respondent to Corsi’s obituary in the Denver Post says he was “one of the most talented communications professionals” in Denver.
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