Willmott Dixon has appointed Paul Smith, former Group Chief Executive at Morgan Sindall, to the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at its Support Services division.

Paul will work alongside the Support Services CEO Chris Durkin as part of a planned transition that will eventually see him become Divisional Chief Executive when Chris retires from the role at the end of 2013.

The appointment of Paul Smith is the culmination of a long-term process to find a successor for Chris Durkin, who after over thirty years’ service with Willmott Dixon, has decided to live permanently in Cornwall where he relocated in 2009. Chris will remain with Willmott Dixon as a non-executive director at Support Services.

As well as spending nearly ten years as Group Chief Executive at Morgan Sindall, Paul was previously Managing Director at Accord Group, so brings a wealth of knowledge about the support services sector and is ideally placed to lead the division from 2014, when he will also join the main Willmott Dixon board.

Willmott Dixon Group Chief Executive Rick Willmott says, “This is a plan that we have been working towards for some time. It’s not an easy task to find the right person to replace Chris, however in Paul we have found an ideal candidate and he’ll work closely with Chris and I as COO this year to ensure a seamless transition to Divisional Chief Executive.

“Given his previous track-record, it is great news that we have acquired the services of Paul to oversee the next phase of Support Services’ growth; he is a fine addition for the Group and I am looking forward to working with him.

“I’m also pleased we’ll retain Chris’ experience as a non-executive director at Support Services once Paul becomes Divisional Chief Executive next year, he has made a huge impact to the growth of Willmott Dixon over the past three decades and leaves a strong legacy for us.”

Willmott Dixon Support Services operates through two companies; Partnerships which works with local authorities and RPs to carry out repairs and maintenance to over 170,000 homes, and Energy Services, which is responsible for delivering services to the growing energy efficiency and retrofit market, including the growing Green Deal market. Turnover for the division in 2012 was £110 million, up from £83 million the previous year, and one of its recent milestones was launching the 4Life skills academy in Birmingham to extends skills training in a variety of important areas, including Green Deal related work.