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Miller chief reshapes for growth push

Miller Construction chief executive Chris Webster has reorganised the contractor into four regional divisions as he aims to grow its order book and headcount in 2011.

Mr Webster took the helm of the contracting arm of Miller in September after 20 years at engineering consultancy Amey. One of his first moves has been to change the firm’s operating structure from three regions to four - adding in an Ashby headquartered Midlands branch to support the South, North and Scotland arms.

Mr Webster hopes this will eventually see the firm’s annual revenue from the Midlands grow from about £65 million to nearer £150m. He also hopes it will allow the South division to focus on winning more work in the burgeoning London and South-east region. He told Construction News: “We have recruited Simon Burton as Midlands regional director. He is working with the existing portfolio and bringing in some new people. We have an aspiration of about £150m turnover from each region.

“We also want the southern region to focus on the South-east - we all recognise the industry will grow from the South-east up.”

Miller Group chief executive Keith Miller said in June that Mr Webster’s appointment was “a clear indication of [the group’s] ambition to broaden and further
develop our construction business”.

Mr Webster said this week that he hoped Miller Construction, which posted turnover of £409m in the year to 31 December 2009, would have a bigger order book and more staff by the end of 2011.

“I have been brought in to diversify and grow the business. I can see opportunities to do that. We need to grow steadily, based on good quality relationships and
work,” he said. “We will not try to grow too quickly or diversify away from our core activities.” He added: “I hope we will be bigger in terms of our order book
by this time next year. We will have more people because that is what we need to achieve what we want to. We also need good work and that means work that is a
good strategic fit and a long-term business opportunity.”

Miller Construction this year won one of six places on the ProCure 21+ health capital works framework, worth up to £4.5 billion over six years, as well as the £435m, 10-year deal to deliver projects through the Northern Hub of the Scottish Futures Trust.

Mr Webster said he was targeting more long-term frameworks and contracts, and had the capacity to take on more big jobs. “We are understated as a company,” he said. “We are delighted to be on ProCure 21+ but perhaps we were less surprised about it than some people.

“A number of public sector authorities are joining together for common procurement and we are keen to be a supplier of choice.”

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