Balfour Beatty’s new chairman is “robust choice”, analyst says

The new management team at Balfour Beatty has been completed with the appointment today of Philip Aiken, of engineering software group, Aveva, as its chairman. He will replace Steve Marshall, who was acting as an interim chairman, on 26 March.  

An Australian national, Aiken (pictured), 66, sits on the board of Aveva as a non-executive chairman. His appointment comes a fortnight after a KPMG report into Balfour’s non-performing contracts triggered a £70m profit writedown.  

After announcing six profit warnings in two years, and after fending off several threats to absorb or break up the group, the UK’s largest construction firm is now under new management. 

Kevin Cammack, a construction industry analyst at Cenkos Securities, said the choice of Aiken would increase Balfour’s credibility, and would improve its standing in a range of shared industries.  

"It looks like a very robust choice," he said. "His CV certainly looks impressive, and he’s clearly got experience at the highest levels. He is coming from a background in industries that will share clients with construction, and with a background in a company as large as Aveva he must be au fait with all the governance procedures."  

Leo Quinn, the chief executive who took over last month, said of the appointment: "Philip has many years of highly relevant international board-level experience at the top of industry and we look forward to his valuable contribution to the business, including areas of paramount importance to the group, such as safety. 

"The board is focused on the group-wide transformation programme and capturing the significant opportunity to drive leaner, stronger processes, improved profits and strong cash generation to the benefit of our shareholders."

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