Kier shareholders revolt after COO steps down


Kier’s chief operating officer (COO), Claudio Veritiero, has left the business with immediate effect.

Mr Veritiero was appointed as COO in August last year, having been at Kier and on the board for many years.

This news was followed by a shareholder revolt over directors receiving their planned pay packages - with 53.88% of votes at the annual general meeting cast against the Board of Directors' Remuneration Report.


The vote is not binding however and the company will publish an update within the next six months on the views it has received from shareholders and the actions it has taken, or proposes to take, in response.

Reports suggest the key issue was a £2.6m annual package offered to chief executive Andrew Davies, in particular the £1.19m he could receive under a long-term incentive scheme.


Former COO Claudio Veritiero's responsibilities are expected to be split between Mr Davies and Kier’s chief financial officer, Simon Kesterton.

Kier's chairman, Phil Cox, has also stepped down after the firm’s £245m loss in late September.

Kier is in the middle of a major restructuring programme but has been hit with a fall in the share price and city speculation that it is over leveraged. There are reports it is a target for a possible US private equity takeover.

Under its plans, Kier aims to cut 1,200 jobs by 30 June 2020 and achieve annual cost savings of at least £55m in the financial year ending 30 June 2021. It is also selling off parts of the business with the sale of its housebuilding arm Kier Living 'continuing to progress', it said.

The firm, which has a successful highways division that it intends to keep, has said that it continues to be successful in contract work in line with expectations. It has pointed to £1bn worth of new contracts awarded since the end of its last financial year in June.

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