Forty directors may go as consultant confirms senior level restructure in response to downturn

Consultant Davis Langdon is undertaking a major shakeup of its senior management team in a move set to make about a quarter of the firm’s 175 directors redundant.

The firm, which was taken over by £3.5bn turnover US engineer Aecom in August last year in a £208m deal, said the consultation process with senior staff and forthcoming restructure was necessary because of worsening economic outlook for 2012.

Jeremy Horner, global chief executive of Davis Langdon, confirmed the firm is conducting a review “in response to the current state of the market.”

He said: “Full-year 2012 looks like it’s going to be the toughie. The question for us is how to make our business as lean as possible in order to focus more directly on clients.”

Building understands from separate industry sources that it is likely that about 40 directors will be made redundant, with rumours circulating that as many as 60 could depart in total.

Horner declined to comment on how many will lose their posts in advance of the closure of the consultation period later this month.

The restructure is designed to take out a layer of management, to ensure as many staff as possible are dealing directly with clients. Davis Langdon confirmed it is only directors, most of whom converted from being partners on the Aecom takeover last year, that are involved in the consultation exercise.

Horner denied the move had anything to do with the Aecom deal: “It is not the result of the Aecom deal or of any intervention beyond Davis Langdon. The reality is we had built a structure in 2008 that was planning for growth and our management structure reflected that. While we have reshaped the business since then, we maybe hadn’t done everything we could in terms of the director level.”

The redundancies will be on top of a list of more than a dozen senior figures, including Simon Rawlinson, Neill Morrison, Richard Baldwin and Mark Lacey, to have left the firm since the start of 2010.

The restructure comes amid a darkening economic picture, with GDP figures published this week showing a fall 0.6% in output in the third quarter of this year.