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Balfour Beatty's UK construction chief sees role downsized in wake of KPMG report

Balfour Beatty’s UK construction head Nick Pollard will take on a reduced role at the contractor as part of a top-level management shake-up.

Mr Pollard, who has headed all three of Balfour Beatty’s UK construction arms, will cede control of the major projects business.

He has retained responsibility for the group’s engineering services and regional construction businesses.

Steve Tarr, the managing director of major projects, will now report directly to chief executive Leo Quinn, instead of Mr Pollard.

Mr Tarr will also join Balfour Beatty’s executive team.

A spokesman for the contractor said the changes would “provide Nick the capacity to focus on the regional business and the engineering services business”.

The changes come in the wake of the completion of an independent review of the firm’s UK business by KPMG.

The auditor highlighted several issues, including bidding for projects “at very low margins with optimistic assumptions around cost”, contract management, and accuracy of forecasting.

Mr Quinn, who took on the CEO role at the start of the month, admitted there had previously been a “conspiracy of optimism” at the firm.

Addressing the management shake-up, Mr Quinn said: “This new structure will put us in a better position to take on board the lessons from the KPMG report and improve tendering, contract management, financial management and performance.”

Balfour Beatty issued a £70m profit warning yesterday (22 January) following the KPMG report and cancelled a proposed £200m share buyback.

Despite that news, shares in the contractor rallied yesterday, finishing almost 5 per cent up at the end of trading.

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