Weir Group boss steps down after seven years

 
Hayley Kirton
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After a decade on the board, it's time for Keith Cochrane to say his goodbyes (Source: Getty)

Weir Group announced today that chief executive Keith Cochrane is stepping down.

Cochrane, who has held a spot on the board for 10 years and has been chief executive since 2009, will be replaced by Jon Stanton at the start of October.

"It has been an honour to lead Weir and I am very proud of what we have achieved in the last 10 years," said Cochrane. "This is a great business with great people and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the success we have achieved.

"I know they will give Jon their full support as he takes the business forward."

Stanton, who was previously a partner at Ernst & Young, joined Weir as group finance director in 2010.

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Stanton said: "Weir is a special company and I am delighted to have been chosen to lead it through the next phase of its development. We have a very talented team and I am excited about working together to build on the success achieved over recent years."

Meanwhile, chairman Charles Berry said:

[Cochrane] has strengthened the group's market position, extended our product portfolio and developed a customer-focused business model which is both robust and agile in responding to changing market conditions.

He leaves Weir in very good shape with a clear and successful strategy, strong operational performance and an experienced and capable leadership team.

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Weir Group also announced its half-year results today. Profit before tax for the firm has fallen to £82m, down 25 per cent compared with £108m the year before, and revenue fell to £866m, down 12 per cent on the prior year's £981m.

"Our first half performance was ahead of market expectations and demonstrated the group's fundamental strength and resilience," Cochrane said.

Although Cochrane's colleagues may have positive words for him, Weir's shareholders haven't always been so glowing, at least not when it comes to pay packets. At April's AGM, the directors' future remuneration policy received a 72.4 per cent “No” vote, partly because the potential award for Cochrane, although reduced, was not linked to performance.

However, investors appeared more saddened by his departure today. At time of writing, shares are trading down 3.3 per cent at 1,474p.

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