Interserve restructures as CEO Debbie White to step down

15 November 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Interserve has announced a new divisional operating structure for the business, at the same time as revealing that CEO Debbie White will step down by the end of December.

White said the past two years at the company were the most demanding of her career, as she steered the business through a battle with shareholders over a debt for equity swap, before the company entered a pre-pack administration and delisted from the London Stock Exchange in March this year.

The company has been reviewing its direction ever since the appointment of chairman Alan Lovell in July 2019, building on its ‘Fit for Growth’ efficiency programmes.

The new operating structure for each of Interserve’s three business divisions – Interserve Construction, equipment services, and support services – will see governance and leadership reporting line changes, while each will be led by a chairman and managing director. The chairman of each division will sit on the Interserve Group board.

White, who first outlined her plans to leave the company in March 2019 will step down by 31 December this year and role of CEO will not be replaced.

Interserve Construction will be chaired by Nick Pollard, who has served as a non-executive director to the board since June 2018. Paul Gandy who joined Interserve in October this year will continue as the managing director for the construction division. The international construction business will continue to be led by George Franks who will report into Nick Pollard.

The equipment services division, RMD Kwikform, will continue to be led by its chairman Ken Hanna and Ian Hayes as managing director, while support services will be chaired by Alan Lovell. Lynn Mawdsley, previously deputy chief financial officer, has been appointed as the managing director of the support services business.

Alan Lovell said: “Since joining Interserve Group Limited in July, I have been impressed with the scale and capabilities of the group, alongside the outstanding work we deliver for clients. This new operating structure will provide us with increased focus in the right areas and ensure that we are well placed to continue this work. By recognising the diversity of the three business divisions and giving each one the right governance and operating framework it will enable them to deliver sustainable growth in the distinct markets they serve.”

Speaking about Debbie White’s departure, he said: “Debbie leaves Interserve with the greatest respect of the board. In her time here, she has worked tirelessly to turn the business around and has steered the group through a period of unprecedented uncertainty, which included securing a critical refinancing. She led the group’s ‘Fit for Growth’ initiative, transforming Interserve into a more agile business, with reduced costs and a more competitive value proposition. On behalf of the board and all at Interserve, I would like to thank her for the huge contribution that she has made through such a critical and challenging period for the business.”

Debbie White said: “The past two years at Interserve have been the most demanding of my professional career. As a management team, we fought to deliver a stronger financial platform for the business from which it can move forward. Whilst we were ultimately unable to secure sufficient shareholder support for the proposed deleveraging plan, under new ownership, we were able to reduce the group’s debt which alongside the successful delivery of the company wide transformation programme, was critical to securing the future of the group.

“I am grateful for the support of our customers, suppliers and the UK Government during this period. Most importantly, I am grateful to the many fantastic people I have worked alongside at Interserve, and I wish them every success in the future.”

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