The CEO of UK-based contractor Kier, Haydn Mursell, has left the company with immediate effect, as the board claimed it was on course to meet its expectations for the 2019 full year results.
Mursell took over as group CEO in 2014, having been with the contractor for four years, serving as group finance director. Before joining the Kier Group, he held senior roles at Balfour Beatty and Bovis Lend Lease. He replaced Paul Sheffield who, in February of 2014, announced he was leaving the post.
Now, the board has asked the chairman, Philip Cox, to act as executive chairman, working closely with finance director Bev Dew and the chief operating officer Claudio Veritiero, to oversee the group’s operations during the transition period until a new chief executive has been appointed.
Kier said the search for an external successor to Mursell was starting immediately.
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.”
In a trading update, the board said it was confident that the group would meet its expectations for the financial year ending 30 June, 2019, with the full-year results being weighted towards the second half of the financial year, “as usual”.
It reported average month-end net debt of around £370 million (€419.39 million), an improvement on the £410 million (€464.85 million) for the six months ended 30 June, 2018, that it said reflected the impact of its recent rights issue.
It added that its Future Proofing Kier programme (the FPK programme) was progressing well. The costs of implementing the FPK programme in the first half of the financial year have exceeded the savings by £10 million (€11.34 million), the company said.
During the period since its last update on 16 November, Kier’s infrastructure services and buildings businesses won a number of new contract awards, and there is now an order book of more than £10 billion (€11.34 billion).
The group’s balance sheet at 31 December, 2018, has been strengthened following the receipt of the £250 million (€283.42 million) net cash proceeds of a recent rights issue, and the group was said to remain on track to report a net cash position at the end of the financial year.
As at 31 December, 2018, the group’s net debt was approximately £130 million (€147.38 million), compared to a figure of £239 million (€271.02 million) at 31 December, 2017, which again was said to have reflecting the rights issue proceeds and the acceleration of supply chain payments, and Kier said this was as expected.