Downing appoints new operations director

Property developer Downing appoints new operations director at its Liverpool operation as current head of construction Ian Orton steps down

Andy Thomas, left, and Ian Orton of Downing


Liverpool-based national property developer Downing has promoted technical director Andy Thomas to the post of operations director.

His promotion follows the retirement of director and head of construction Ian Orton. After 24 years with the company, Ian has decided to take a step back. However he will continue to work with the business as a non-executive director.

Andy will oversee a £1bn development pipeline. Downing is currently on site at one of its biggest developments to date. First Street is a £400m mixed-use co-living scheme in Manchester city centre.

Last year the business took over the former children’s hospital site in Edinburgh. It is creating a £150m mixed-use scheme that will see a five-storey 323 student accommodation building, 95 private residential properties, as well as affordable housing.

Sally O’Brien, joint chief executive at Downing, said: “We are really pleased that Ian will still be involved with Downing. He is responsible for the great team we have established at Downing; each member being guided through his experience. 

READ MORE: Downing invests further £3.5m into Liverpool site

“The whole team is immensely grateful for his loyalty and dedication which has led to the delivery of many high-profile projects for us.

“Andy has been a rising star since joining us and is someone who was earmarked very early on as a future leader. It’s very fitting that having been mentored by Ian from the start of his career, he is now taking over the helm.

“He has a wealth of experience and has played a pivotal role in some of our largest regeneration projects and will continue to do so in the years ahead.”

Ian and Andy have worked together on some of Downing’s landmark schemes. These include Broadcasting Place in Leeds, Downing Plaza – Newcastle, and the £80m School of Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

Andy added: “It is no secret that the construction industry has had some challenging times the last few years. There have been changes in legislation, insurance market challenges, supply chain issues, energy costs, Brexit and net zero.

“Downing has met every one of these challenges with motivation and enthusiasm. This is something we will continue to carry into this next chapter.”

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