Kier Group’s Paul Sheffield has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Surrey for his “outstanding contributions”.

Since 2010, Mr Sheffield has been the chief executive officer for Kier Group. Since he graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Surrey in 1983, he has become one of the key figures in the civil engineering and construction sector in the UK and internationally. His industry experience started when he was an undergraduate student on his industrial year placement in southern Africa.

When he graduated from Surrey, Mr Sheffield joined French Kier (the forerunner of the Kier Group) and was immediately posted to Papua New Guinea. He then went on to develop his management skills and to take lead roles in projects in the Middle East and Hong Kong. In 1996, the Institution of Civil Engineers named him "Civil Engineering Project Manager of the Year".

After becoming managing director of Kier in 2001, and chairman in 2003, Mr Sheffield was appointed to the board and took responsibility for the group's construction activities in 2008. On top of his substantial contribution to the profession, Paul has also provided significant support for students and graduates entering careers within civil engineering. Kier was one of the founding sponsors of the University of Surrey/ICE Scholarship Scheme, which is now in its 13th year and has supported over 250 Civil Engineering students.

Mr Sheffield's graduation ceremony at Guildford Cathedral was presided over by the university's Chancellor, HRH The Duke of Kent.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, the university's vice-chancellor and president, said: "All of our honorary degree recipients have made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields. I am delighted to take this opportunity to publicly recognise such distinguished colleagues. They are individuals the university is extremely proud to be associated with."