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Osborne role reversal

Ongoing legal battle means sacked Amec chief is no longer in the frame for top job

THE FORMER boss of Amec's construction arm has missed out on the chance to revive his career at Geoffrey Osborne after the Sussex contractor got cold feet on his planned appointment as chief executive.

Steve Bowcott was sacked by Amec in the summer after failing to declare he had awarded a public relations contract to a company owned by his wife.

He is suing the company for unfair dismissal. A case management discussion ? a preliminary hearing outlining how the case will be heard ? is due to be held at Manchester Employment Tribunal next week. A date for the full hearing, likely to be in the New Year, will be set afterwards.

Mr Bowcott had been lined up to take over from former Osborne boss Nick Yandle in September. Acting chief executive Andrew Osborne has filled the role since Mr Yandle left in March.

But this week a source close to Osborne said Mr Bowcott's ongoing legal battle with his former employer meant he was out of the running for the appointment. He said: 'I think they liked him but in the light of his case against Amec they decided against it. If he loses the Amec case it would make things very hard for everybody.' Relations between Mr Bowcott and Amec have become increasingly bitter since Amec took the unusual step of spelling out the reasons for his dismissal.

In a statement issued to its 3,500 UK employees in July, the firm accused Mr Bowcott of 'a substantial breach of our code of business conduct'.

Mr Bowcott is understood to have been carrying out some consultancy work for a number of firms since he was fired. He was unavailable for comment.

There is support for Mr Osborne, the son of founder Geoffrey, who died in March aged 81, to make his acting chief executive's role a permanent one.

A source said of Mr Osborne, who has a degree in engineering from Oxford University: 'Andrew is very able and well liked by staff. He could easily do the job.'