Present chief executive Steve Hollingshead is to step down at the end of the year handing the business to 37-year-old John Murphy.
Hollingshead will become a non-executive director of Murphy after two-and-a-half years at the helm during which time he has restructured the business to deliver a growth plan to double its size by 2020.
The firm has got its sights on becoming a tier 1 contractor specialising in civils and process engineering.
Staff at the £600m turnover contractor were told about the changes at the top yesterday.
Murphy joined the firm in 2003 as a civil engineer, and rose through the ranks to become chief operating officer in January of this year.
Before that as managing director for the north, he was instrumental in the acquisition of pipeline contractor Land and Marine four years ago.
Two weeks ago the firm disposed of its 50% stake in the loss-making Australian business Murphy Pipe & Civil to concentrate on its UK and Canadian operations.
The business is set for strong growth on the back of its HS2 enabling works package and the contract to deliver a 23-mile materials transportation tunnel in joint venture with Hochtief for the massive Yorkshire potash mine project.