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Balfour Boss Makes Way For Deputy

(c) Sky News 2013

The boss of Balfour Beatty (Other OTC: BAFBF - news) , the infrastructure and construction group, will on Tuesday become the first chief executive of a major UK company to step down this year.

I have learned that Ian Tyler, who has run Balfour since 2005, will announce that he is retiring after more than a decade with the company.

Mr Tyler's departure, which will be disclosed alongside a scheduled trading update, will come just months after Balfour's strong reputation in the City was jolted by a surprise profit warning.

His replacement will be Andrew McNaughton, Balfour's deputy chief executive and chief operating officer. Mr McNaughton was appointed to the role last May, and shareholders are likely to welcome a too-seldom example of seamless succession planning at a major UK company.

Balfour is one of Britain's biggest private sector employers with more than 50,000 workers around the world.

Under Mr Tyler's stewardship, Balfour has repositioned itself away from being a pure-play construction company into being a diversified infrastructure services group.

Investors have broadly welcomed that strategy, although they were stunned in November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) by a profit warning, which was accompanied by news that Balfour is considering selling parts of its rail business.

The company has also been examining a separation of its Workplace division, which manages the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park in Stratford, London.

Already this year, Balfour has announced a string of contract wins, including work on a gas-fired power plant in Delaware, and a £321m contract to design and construct upgrade sections of the M25 motorway on behalf of the Highways Agency.

Balfour declined to comment