Wolseley boss brings in new finance chief

David Hellier
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IAN Meakins, chief executive of the building materials group Wolseley, yesterday moved to stamp his authority on the company he joined last July.

He is bringing in John Martin, a man he worked with before at the foreign exchange group Travelex, as chief financial officer to replace Steve Webster who has been with the group for 15 years.

Meakins is also scrapping the role of European chief executive and the current holder of that post, Rob Marchbank, will leave the company at the end of next month.

Martin joins the group from Alchemy, the private equity firm that recently lost its founder Jon Moulton after a disagreement.

Sources say that Martin has been looking for a move since the end of last year.

Meakins said: “I am delighted that John Martin will be joining the company. I have worked with him before and we were pleased to have been able to attract someone of his calibre and expertise.”

Wolseley has had a tough year and in April was forced to launch a £1bn rights issue to reduce its large debt burden.

Panmure Gordon’s Andy Brown welcomed the management changes and said; “It looks like Meakins has got the man he wanted.”

Brown said he didn’t envisage major strategy changes at Wolseley, although he foresaw some minor tidying up of the group’s assets.