Group Chief Executive
Rick Willmott is Group Chief Executive at Willmott Dixon. He represents the fifth generation of Willmott family involvement in the company that was established in 1852.
Rick joined Willmott Dixon in 1982 as a project management trainee and fulfilled a secondment in 1993 for the government’s Construction Sponsorship Directorate with the remit of promoting UK Construction and consultancy within the wider European community in a joint initiative with the DTI.
Rick has been Chief Executive for ten years and leads a company employing nearly 3,500 people with a turnover of £1.25 billion in 2014.
Although well known for construction and house building, the company has become a large-scale developer under Rick’s leadership, and this was underlined by the development agreement signed in late 2014 with Brentford FC to deliver a new stadium and 1,000 homes in an area north of Kew Bridge. Another area where Rick has taken Willmott Dixon is the creation of bespoke homes for the private rental market through the company’s be:here brand.
A key focus for Rick has been Willmott Dixon’s approach to sustainable development and community investment, highlighted by the fact the company is carbon neutral and diverts over 90% of waste away from landfill. It also invests over £1.5 million each year in staff time and materials to community projects and fund raising. This saw Willmott Dixon become the only company in its sector to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development in 2014, and followed this up by securing a prestigious CommunityMark accolade from Business in the Community. Through the Foundation, which Rick chairs, the aim is to improve the life chances of 3,000 people by 2015.
"I am very proud that in 2014 we invested £2.27 million through our people in support of initiatives that improve the lives of others – up 65% from the previous year. I believe passionately that our company has a purpose beyond profit and, with its scale, a real opportunity to be a catalyst for positive change wherever we work. This is not only done through what we build and maintain; it’s achieved through the fantastic efforts of all our people who make a major contribution to enhancing their local communities.”
According to the Sunday Times Top Track 100 list in 2015, Willmott Dixon is the 40th biggest private company in the UK.
Talking recently about Willmott Dixon being a carbon neutral business, Rick says:
“There is a clear link between being commercially successful and being sustainable; cutting carbon boosts the bottom line. As a result of implementing our previous Carbon Management Plan, we are now saving around £3m a year in fuel and energy costs. We will shortly be issuing a new Energy and Carbon Management Strategy which will set out how we will cut carbon produced by our construction projects and other business operations by half compared with our 2010 baseline, and save us a similar amount in fuel and energy costs.”