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Tolent founder steps down after 35 years

Tolent founder John Wood has stepped down from the board after 35 years in charge of the firm.

Mr Wood, whose role was director, told Construction News the move was part of a succession process that has been planned for some time.

He will remain on the board of Tolent’s construction business until June.

“I’ll be 75 in June and the plan is to fade out,” Mr Wood said.

Tolent will be run by CEO Andy McLeod and COO Paul Webster.

Mr McLeod joined the company from Robertson in 2017 and Mr Wood said he had been in charge of day-to-day running of the business since March last year.

The company also added former Severfield chief executive Ian Lawson and KPMG Scotland chairman Craig Anderson to its board last May.

Mr Wood said his departure from the board at the start of a new year was a “clean end” to his time in charge.

Beyond the end of June, Mr Wood said he would retain some involvement with Tolent’s South Seaham project, a £175m new garden village in County Durham. 

Tolent is developing the 1,500-home site with Newcastle housing association Home Group.

Mr Wood, an engineer by trade, started Tolent Construction in 1983 after leaving Balfour Beatty.

Since then it has expanded beyond its Tyneside base and opened offices in Yorkshire and the South-east, and has moved into the residential sector through a joint venture with Gentoo Construction.

Mr Wood was awarded a CBE in the 2019 New Year’s Honours list for services to building and engineering.

In its most recent accounts for the 2017 financial year, Tolent PLC reported a threefold increase in pre-tax profit to £3.7m on revenue of £178.4m. 

Construction News reported in July last year that Sunderland City Council development partner Siglion had appointed Tolent to complete a £100m regeneration scheme shut down following the collapse of Carillion in January. 

It was reported at the time that the Beam would be completed in early 2019.

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