Andrew Davies will replace Haydn Mursell who stepped down as Kier chief executive last month after coming under pressure from shareholders about the contractor’s soaring debts.
His new turnaround challenge comes just days before Kier is due to announce half-year results, after last week having to correct statements about debt levels.
After a slow start to the year, the group is forecasting a strong performance in the second half of the year to meet targets to achieve a net cash position at 30 June 2019
Davies spent four years as chief executive of Wates before announcing in October 2017 he was leaving to become chief executive of Carillion. But a week before officially taking up the job Carillion collapsed into administration.
Before joining Wates Davies spent over 28 years at BAe Systems, undertaking a range of senior operational and corporate roles, including group strategy director and, latterly, managing director of the maritime division.
Davies said: “I look forward to leading Kier in consolidating its market-leading positions and to bringing a renewed focus on simplifying the group, improving cashflow generation and reducing net debt, while maintaining the group’s disciplined approach to risk management.”
Philip Cox, executive chairman of Kier, said: “Andrew has a strong track record of business leadership and his operational experience across a number of sectors, combined with his strategic approach, make him an excellent fit for Kier. On behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome Andrew to the Group and I look forward to working with him.”
Davies joins on 15 April when Philip Cox will resume his role as non-executive chairman.