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QinetiQ boss jumps ship to Balfour Beatty

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Leo Quinn, chief executive of QinetiQ (LON:QQ.), is to jump ship and take up the helm at troubled infrastructure group Balfour Beatty(LON:BBY).

The move marks a return to Balfour Beatty for Quinn, as he began his career there in 1979, working as a civil engineer.

Quinn, who will quit defence research outfit QinetiQ at the beginning of next year, will be paid a basic annual salary of £800,000, plus pension and other benefits, including participation in Balfour Beatty’s annual bonus and long-term incentive plans.

One of those incentives might well be to bring an end to a series of profit warnings issued by Balfour Beatty, the most recent of which came last month and which wiped around £400mln from the stock market value of the firm in a single day.

That was the fifth profit warning in recent memory from the firm and proved to be the final straw for chairman Steve Marshall, who was acting as temporary chief executive; he fell on his sword after the group announced a £75mln “profit shortfall” from its UK construction services group.

The timing of that profit warning was particularly unwelcome as it came hot on the heels of management’s rejection of merger overtures from sector peer Carillion (LON:CLLN).

Prior to his five years as boss of QinetiQ, Quinn was chief executive of De La Rue, the bank note printer.

Meanwhile, QinetiQ said the search is on for a replacement for Quinn. Chief financial officer David Mellors is acting as chief executive officer until a permanent appointment is made.

Shares in Balfour Beatty surged 8.6% to 161.5p on the news, while QinetiQ’s shares lost 10% of their value.

Quick facts: Balfour Beatty plc

Price: 230 GBX

LSE:BBY
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £1.59 billion
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