Leighton Group appoints new general counsel from Australian government

International construction and contract mining giant Leighton Holdings, which is headquartered in Sydney, has appointed Richard Willcock as its new group company secretary and general counsel.

Willcock has most recently been employed by the Australian Government as national director, strategy risk and coordination with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. Prior to that role he was an adviser on financial services and governance in Australia and in Timor Leste.

Before moving to the public sector, Willcock served 12 years at Westpac Banking Corporation on various legal roles, including group company sectary and general counsel between 2003 and 2009.

“Richard brings a broad range of skills and experiences which suit the diverse and multi-faceted environments in which the Leighton Group works. His professional legal career, his strong background in corporate governance and his experience in building and leading effective teams are attributes that appealed to Leighton,” said Leighton’s chief executive officer Hamish Tyrwhitt in a statement.

Willcock’s appointment comes after an extensive search by the company and three months after the departure of previous chief risk officer and general counsel Craig van der Laan. Van der Lann joined Leighton in June 2011 and left to join Australian property group Lend Lease as chief strategy officer in March this year.

In the interim, Leighton’s deputy group general counsel Karen Pedersen assumed the leadership of the legal function. She has reassumed her role of deputy general counsel reporting to Willcock. The group’s current company secretary Ashley Moir will retire after 22 years of service.

Leighton Holdings is the publicly listed parent of Leighton Group, which operates in more than 25 countries throughout Australia, Asia, the Middle East and Africa and is active in infrastructure, resources and property sectors.