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Cammell Laird strengthens management team

posted on April 1, 2019 categories Corporate News

Cammell Laird is announcing a series of changes to its senior management team to support ambitious growth plans.

John Syvret, CBE, extends his CEO role to executive chairman

The restructure sees company founder and CEO John Syvret CBE extend his role to executive chairman, Tony Graham, meanwhile becomes chief operating officer having led Cammell Laird’s Type 31e bid and Paul Owen joins the company from the defence industry to become managing director. Linton Roberts takes up a new role as group technical director sales and marketing.


Mr Syvret said the newly strengthened team will enable the company to maximise its potential as one of the world’s leading shipbuilders.


“I congratulate and welcome everyone to their new roles,” he said. “This really is a very exciting time for the business as we adapt to being a global player in the shipbuilding industry once again. Investing in the best people and bringing more expertise and experience will make Cammell Laird more competitive and better equipped to manage our multi-million pound  order book and win the big contracts we are gunning for. These include the Royal Navy’s multi-billion contracts for the new Type 31e warships and Fleet Solid Support vessels. Winning the RRS Sir David Attenborough polar ship, the biggest commercial shipbuilding contract in Britain for a generation, against fierce international competition, sent a massive message to the global maritime industry that Cammell Laird is back. Our challenge is to ensure we capitalise on the opportunities that exist.  Cammell Laird has been trading since 1828 and we are custodians of an iconic company and key wealth and jobs creator for Merseyside and Britain. It is the job of the new management team to innovate and adapt Cammell Laird to the demands of modern industry so the company can flourish now and into the next generation.”

Tony Graham – Cammell Laird chief operating officer

Tony Graham joined Cammell Laird from his role as Constructor Rear Admiral and head of ships for the UK Ministry of Defence in 2017 where he led a team of 1200 people and a budget of £2billion.  Tony said he was attracted to work at Cammell Laird by its ambition and commercial culture.


“I am a naval architect and have known Cammell Laird through-out my career,” he said. “I worked closely with Lairds when I led the Aircraft Carrier programme for seven years and was massively impressed by the management team, the workforce and the infrastructure at Birkenhead. It is a dream to come to work here, drive through the gates and see ships like the Sir David Attenborough being built. My background includes strategic leadership and development of large organisations and I will be working with the team to build on the company’s many strengths. Cammell Laird is a great place to work as it is a customer focused, people orientated, highly competitive business with a supportive ethos. I am excited to be here.”

Cammell Laird managing director Paul Owen

Paul Owen, aged 50, meanwhile, joins Cammell Laird after spending 20 years in the naval, marine and defence industry working for Rolls Royce, Thales and Ultra Electronics in managing director, business development and technical director roles mainly in the North West of England.


“Cammell Laird has an excellent reputation, and I have observed and admired the achievements here for some time,” he said. “When you meet the management team and walk around the famous site that passion comes through. The journey the business has been on in recent years is unique. It has that mix of entrepreneurialism and audacity and has dreamed big and delivered. Seeing how Cammell Laird has resurrected an industry on the Mersey and invested in skills and apprentices is very inspiring and exactly what the region and the country needs.  I have further been impressed by the workforce and the infrastructure. The exciting thing now is planning for the future. My roles with Thales and Rolls-Royce have required me to work with an entrepreneurial mindset within a corporate environment that I believe will greatly support the future vision and plan for Cammell Laird. I was very attracted by Cammell Laird’s vision to promote its widely transferable skills and infrastructure, this will take careful planning to develop order-book growth along with continued operational execution. I very much look forward to sharing my expertise, experience and contacts in these areas with the new management team.”