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Shepherd to boost London presence

Shepherd Construction is set to open its first office in London to increase its presence in the capital, new chief executive Richard Vining told Construction News this week.

Mr Vining, promoted to the helm of the firm last week, said he was hoping to sign the lease on Shepherd’s new London premises this week, with the office due to be up and running in early 2011.

He said London would be a good base for Shepherd’s South division as well as helping the business grow nationally.

“London is somewhere we’ve worked for 20 years or more and we just want to reinforce our presence there,” he said.

He said Shepherd would target commercial jobs in London as well as continuing to work in the education and science sectors.

“We’re keeping a careful eye on the commercial upswing. You can see confidence growing in London. Public spending has hit us all and we need to be more reliant on the private sector and what that will look like.”

Mr Vining’s move from managing director of the South division to chief executive was part of a wider management restructure at the firm.

Former chief executive Allan McDougall has taken on a role at parent company Shepherd Group, while Phil Greer - former managing director of the East division - will become executive director of operations at Shepherd Construction.

Mr Vining said his first priority was to get Shepherd Construction’s eastern, western and southern regional offices performing well, followed by increasing the firm’s presence in the capital and then looking at other regions.

He said Shepherd wanted to replicate the model it used to revive the stalled Trinity Walk shopping centre scheme in Wakefield.

In December 2009, Shepherd formed a partnership with developers Sovereign Land and the property fund Area Property Partners, which bought the scheme from administrators in order to complete it.