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QinetiQ chief executive Leo Quinn rejoins Balfour Beatty as CEO

Breaking: Balfour Beatty has appointed QinetiQ chief executive Leo Quinn as its group CEO, 35 years after he started his career with the contractor.

Mr Quinn will have a basic salary of £800,000 and will start the role on 1 January 2015, ending a long search for a CEO which started with the resignation of Andrew McNaughton in May.

QinetiQ is a defence technlogy company, at which Mr Quinn has spent five years as CEO.

Before that, he was CEO at De La Rue, the largest non-government printer of banknotes, and has also spent time as global president of Honeywell Building Controls and COO of Production Management, the largest division of Invensys.

Mr Quinn was educated at Imperial College London and Portsmouth University and has an MSc in Management Science and a BSc in Civil Engineering.  

He started his career at Balfour Beatty in 1979 as a civil engineer in the UK construction services business.

Balfour Beatty’s share price rose 8.5 per cent by 11am, while QinetiQ’s fell by 10 per cent as the markets reacted to the appointment.

Balfour Beatty has suffered from five profit warnings in two years, which has seen several leadership changes and a dramatic fall in its share price and market value.

The firm rejected a merger approach by Carillion earlier this year, and has pressed ahead with plans to sell its profitable professional services arm Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP.

Analsyst Jeffries issued a note on the appointment this morning which hailed Mr Quinn’s”track record as a turnaround specialist”.

It added: “It would, however, be a shame if he has let the biggest strategic decision the group will make in the next decade be made before he joins. Surely the incoming Mr Quinn should assess the contribution of PB to the group rather than the exiting chairman.”

Executive chairman Steve Marshall, who will depart once his replacement is found, said: “I am delighted to welcome Leo to Balfour Beatty. Leo is an outstanding individual with an excellent track record in improving the performance of major international businesses.  

QinetiQ reaction:

QinetiQ chairman Mark Elliott said: “Leo Quinn arrived at QinetiQ at a difficult point in the company’s history with a downturn in defence spending on the horizon.

“His vision and leadership have transformed QinetiQ into the strong, competitive company it is today, better positioned to deliver growth through its Organic-Plus strategy. On behalf of the board, I wish Leo every success in his new role.”

“He has the depth and breadth of experience and the drive to lead our company through the next stage of its development. I am confident that Balfour Beatty will thrive under Leo’s leadership.”

Mr Quinn said: “Balfour Beatty is a world-leading brand with world-leading talent.

“Having started my career there, I am very proud to be rejoining a company so ingrained in British engineering, and am resolute in my ambition to realise its enormous potential for customers, employees and investors.  

“The building blocks are there to give Balfour Beatty’s people the success they deserve and I am keen to work with them to create something significant and lasting.”

On appointment, Mr Quinn will receive a basic annual salary of £800,000, with pension and benefit provision in line with the company’s approved remuneration policy.

“In addition, and also consistent with the remuneration policy, he will participate in Balfour Beatty’s annual bonus and long-term incentive plans, and the value of Mr Quinn’s incentive awards that will be forfeited upon leaving his current employer will be compensated.

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