Kier chief executive departs without warning

Haydn Mursell, the chief executive of major UK contractor, Kier, is to leave the business with immediate effect.

The company announced 22 January that chairman Philip Cox will act as executive chairman working with finance director Bev Dew and chief operating officer Claudio Veritiero until a new chief executive is appointed, reports Construction Manager.

Kier said it has begun its search for an external successor to Mursell immediately.

Kier chief executive until 22 January, Haydn Mursell

The news came on the same day that the business issued a trading update in which it said it was on track to meet its expectations for the 2019 financial year, ending on 30 June. Average month-end net debt has fallen at the company to around £370m from £410m in the second half of its 2018 financial year as a result of its recent £264m rights issue.

However, the rights issue was a difficult process, with Kier shareholders taking up just 38% of the new shares, leaving the institutional investors who had underwritten the move to pick up the tab for the rest. Its share price fell 40% as a result and led to calls from some investors for Mursell to be removed from his role.

Commenting on Mursell’s departure, Cox said: "The board believes that, following the completion of the recent rights issue, now is the right time for a new leader to take Kier forward to the next stage of its development. The board would like to thank Haydn for his contribution during eight years on the board, firstly as finance director and then as chief executive. On behalf of the board, I would like to wish him every success in the future."

Kier’s results for the six months ended 31 December 2018 are due on 21 March 2019.

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  1. When Mr. Mursell took over as Chief Executive Kier’s share value was close to £18. Under his direction Kier has invested heavily in Property and FM services which resulted in an early call on investors through a rights issue, diluting the companies value from its previous high to around £13.50

    Neither of these investment streams, made in the face of a increasingly unattractive markets, have delivered meaningful profit streams.

    Now the debacle over the failed further rights issue. In my view Mr.Mursell’s departure is long overdue.
    Find someone who understands how a major construction business functions – someone like Paul Sheffield and please not another accountant!!

  2. On the Kier issue I agree with Tony a construction man has to run a construction company , accountants and finance gurus have their place in the back office watching the cash flow and all of that , of course suspect investments in acquisition of sorts is also a question on Mursell , not sure he understood the business in any case Andrew Davis will sort it out give him a year or two all will be business as usual at Kier

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