Wates’ Paul Chandler takes early retirement

Paul Chandler

Paul Wates joined Wates from Skanska in 2017 as managing director of its construction business and joined the group board 18 months later. At the age of 60, he has now announced his intention to retire from a full-time executive position at the end of 2024.

His successor is the long-serving Steffan Battle, who already has the job title of managing director of Wates Construction division and was previously head of pre-construction. He has been with the company nearly 30 years. Battle will become executive managing director of Wates Construction on 1st July 2024 and join the Wates executive committee.

Paul Chandler will remain a member of the Wates Group board and continue to lead Wates Construction Group until his departure in December.

The management change is being accompanied by some organisational reforms.

The fit-out and refurbishment division, Smartspace – currently part of Wates Property Services – will move across to become part of Wates Construction.

Steff Battle
Steff Battle

In January 2025, SES Engineering Services – currently part of Wates Construction – will become its own business division at Wates, joining the Construction, Residential, Developments and Wates Property Services divisions. SES Engineering Services has grown by 50% since Wates bought the business from Shepherd Building Group in 2015, with annual turnover growing from £200m to £300m over the past decade

Wates said that giving SES more independence would “enable the business to continue to grow and pursue more and larger projects”.

Rob Clifford, current managing director of SES, will become its executive managing director and also join the Wates Group executive committee on 1st July 2024, along with Steffan Battle.

Paul Chandler said: “I know I am leaving the business in safe hands and look forward to seeing Wates continue to thrive. The business’ growth and success would not be possible without its people. Wates is a company of outstanding, talented people and I would like to thank all my colleagues who have made the past eight years so rewarding.”

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