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Baptism of fire for Costain boss

Outgoing chief Stuart Doughty will only work alongside his successor for a few weeks

NEW COSTAIN chief executive Andrew Wyllie will be thrown in the deep end when he takes up the role in September.

Outgoing boss Stuart Doughty confirmed he would only be around for a handover period of a few weeks after Mr Wyllie completes his move.

Mr Doughty had originally envisaged a settling-in period of up to six months but this week he admitted: 'Once you have somebody in place they have to start taking decisions.

'You cannot keep deferring decisions and it doesn't take many weeks before that person starts taking control.After the interims, it will be Andrew's game.'

Mr Wyllie left his position as head of Taylor Woodrow's construction arm on Monday after 21 years at the firm that he joined straight after graduating from university with a civil engineering degree.

The 42-year-old Scot, who is on three months'gardening leave, is expected to take up his new role in the first week of September once Mr Doughty has presented Costain's 2005 interim results.

Negotiations to bring Mr Wyllie to Costain were concluded over the weekend in time for today's (Thursday) AGM.The trawl included running the rule over 50 CVs and interviewing around a dozen candidates.

Mr Doughty said: 'I think Andrew's an all-round damn good candidate.He has management expertise and is a passionate contractor.We are very much like-minded.'

Mr Wyllie's role at Taywood has been temporarily taken up by executive director Denis Mac Daid, who will retire from the board in June.

A Taywood spokeswoman said: 'We wish Andrew well and are looking to replace him before Denis goes in the summer.'

Mr Wyllie told Construction News: 'It is a tremendous opportunity. I get to be the captain of the ship at a plc.Costain is a blue-riband name and I'm very pleased to have been given this opportunity.There is a degree of mixed emotions, but I've had a good career at Taylor Woodrow.'

He was appointed managing director of Taywood's construction arm in 2001 and has seen the division carry out more and more work for its development and housing arms since.

Last year, a third of construction's £410 million turnover was in-house - but Mr Wyllie played down the impact of this figure for his departure. But one rival boss said: 'Taywood is a house builder and he might have wondered about his long-term future.'

By the time he leaves his £447,000-a-year role, Mr Doughty, who turns 62 in September, will have been at Costain for four years. He ruled out joining another contractor in an executive role as 'inappropriate'but admitted more work for its development and housing arms since.

Last year, a third of construction's £410 million turnover was in-house - but Mr Wyllie played down the impact of this figure for his departure.But one rival boss said: 'Taywood is a house builder and he might have wondered about his long-term future.'

By the time he leaves his £447,000-a-year role, Mr Doughty, who turns 62 in September, will have been at Costain for four years.He ruled out joining another contractor as an executive as 'inappropriate'but admitted that he was eyeing up opportunities elsewhere.

He said: 'Whether I want to be an executive again, I don't know, but the industry has a broad client base.'