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Tolent chief departs as losses pile up

26 Oct 21 Northeast construction contractor Tolent has parted company with its chief executive after posting record losses.

Andy McLeod has stood down as CEO of Tolent
Andy McLeod has stood down as CEO of Tolent

Andy McLeod, who joined Tolent in 2017, has stepped down as chief executive and will leave the company at the end of November.

Paul Webster, the current chief operating officer, has been appointed chief executive with immediate effect. He has been with the company for more than 23 years and has been on the main board since March 2018.

The change in leadership follows the announcement earlier in the year that financial director Andy Clark will also be leaving. His replacement, an experienced CFO from within the construction industry, will be joining around the turn of the year.

Non-executive chairman Craig Anderson said: “2020 has undoubtedly been the most difficult year in the group’s history. Despite record turnover of £185m the group recorded losses of £8.3m [after tax] with the impact of Covid-19 exacerbating difficulties associated with closing its Southern business which resulted in losses on discontinuing operations of almost £12m. The ongoing business remained resilient, posting profits of £3.6m, helped by a committed and dedicated workforce.”

The 2020 pre-tax loss of £8.5m follows a pre-tax loss of £859,000 in 2019.

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Craig Anderson continued: “To strengthen the balance sheet and fuel future development, a two-year £12m refinancing exercise was successfully concluded in May of this year.

“In 2021 the business is once again trading profitability but margins remain under pressure as a result of ongoing material supply issues and inflation. Looking forward, the focus will remain on its core businesses in the North East and Yorkshire that have remained profitable throughout.”

New chief executive Paul Webster commented: “The last 18 months have certainly been some of the most challenging that I can remember in my 23 years at Tolent, but we are well placed as we move towards 2022 with a healthy forward order book and over £130m of secured and probable work across a wide variety of sectors.

“Despite the ongoing industry and global difficulties we have many recent success stories which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all our colleagues. These include the completion of Newcastle’s tallest building, Hadrian’s Tower, and the transformation of the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Sunderland which has led to numerous further contracts for the Newcastle Hospitals Trust.

“2022 will see the completion of our largest project to date, the challenging and prestigious £84m Milburngate mixed use development in Durham, and the continued expansion of our residential business in the North East and Yorkshire which is set to deliver more than 2,000 units over the coming years, covering both the public and private sectors.”

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