Kier’s chief operating officer has left the business with immediate effect as the struggling outsourcer rang the changes at the top amid reported interest from private equity.
Claudio Veritiero, who was appointed COO only in August of 2018, has quit the company today.
His responsibilities will be split between CEO Andrew Davies and Kier’s chief financial officer, Simon Kesterton.
Meanwhile board member Adam Walker has signalled he will step down by the end of the year after four years in his seat.
Kier is still hunting for a new chairman after Phil Cox quit following the firm’s £245m loss in late September.
The construction firm is trying to avoid the fate of former rival Carillion, which plunged into liquidation with debts of £1.5bn in January 2018.
Today Kier said the sale of its housebuilding arm Kier Living “continues to progress” while it is looking at options to release capital from its property arm.
Kier remains on course to slash its staff headcount by 1,200 by June 2020, it said today, adding that it is on track to achieve annual cost savings of £55m by June 2021.
Trading remains in line with board expectations, Kier said today. It pointed to £1bn worth of new contracts awarded since the end of its last financial year in June.
Those include roles in the government’s £30bn Construction Works and Associated Services framework.
“We continue to build the foundations for the future of the group through the execution of our strategic priorities,” Davies said.
“Our core businesses are performing in line with our expectations and we continue to win work from a number of our major clients, whilst significantly reducing the group’s overheads and costs.”
However, Kier is reportedly a target for US private equity giant Lone Star. Kier’s lenders, which include HSBC, are trying to flog Kier’s £167m debt for as little as 70p in the pound, in an attempt to stem their losses.
Hedge funds hope to use the debt to seize control of the company, according to the Sunday Times.
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