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Carillion undergoes management reshuffle

Carillion announced the departure of its finance chief along with a series of changes to its management yesterday as the crisis-hit construction services company tries to stabilise its business and rebuild its balance sheet.

CFO Zafar Khan is stepping down under an agreement with Keith Cochrane, the former chief executive of Weir who agreed to temporarily run the company following a shock profit warning in July.

Khan joined Carillion in 2011, initially as Finance Director for its Middle East and North Africa business, and then as Group Financial Controller.

He previously worked at Associated British Ports Holdings and other industrial groups.

Emma Mercer, the Finance Director of Carillion’s construction arm, will take Khan’s place as CFO.


Mercer has held several roles at the company, including as Finance Director of its UK construction business, and as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of its Canadian arm.

The decision to part company with its finance chief may raise fresh concerns about the extent of the crisis at Carillion, which is involved in major infrastructure projects such as the HS2 high-speed rail link.

It also has a major presence in the delivery of road maintenance contracts, rail services and a range of Public Private Partnerships in healthcare and other areas.

Shares fell 5.05% to 41.98p in morning trading.

Other resignations at the top include the Managing Director of the construction services arm, Adam Green, Managing Director of Carillion Services, Nigel Taylor, and Group Strategy Director, Shaun Carter.

Carillion has named Canada CEO Andy Jones as Chief Operating Officer, to replace Richard Howson, who leaves at the end of this month.

The group has also appointed Lee Watson as chief transformation officer of accounting firm Ernst & Young (EY), which has been brought in to support its strategic review to avoid collapse.

Carillion, which employs 50,000 people worldwide, has been fighting for its life after admitting in July that problems with four contracts in the UK, the Middle East and Canada would cost it £845mn in write-downs.

Neil Wilson, Senior Market Analyst at ETX Capital, said while the decision to restructure the board seems like a positive move, it may be a case of “too little, too late”.

In July, 40% - roughly £350mn - was knocked off the value of the company in one day, with shares sinking to their lowest since 2000 after it warned on profits.

Last month, Carillion lost its place in the FTSE 250 having dropped almost £800mn from its market capitalisation in recent weeks.

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