Old guard takes over after second shock departure from privately owned contractor.
David Anderson, the abrasive former head of Wimpey Construction, left privately owned contractor Shepherd suddenly on Monday.

Anderson's shock departure as managing director of Shepherd Costruction follows that of another director, Stuart Fraser, who left the company last month.

Anderson joined Shepherd in September 1996 from Tarmac, where he had moved after Wimpey swapped its construction and minerals assets for Tarmac's housebuilding arm.

His brief at York-based Shepherd was to build up operations in the South, which had lagged behind the firm's northern region.

Shepherd declined to comment in detail on the moves, other than to say the board had been reorganised following an "unsatisfactory performance" in the southern division.

Shepherd is now bringing in long-serving directors to replace Anderson and Fraser, who were both relative newcomers to the business.

Anderson's job has been taken by former operations director Geoff Simpson, who has been with the company for 33 years. In addition, David Webb, a director of parent company Shepherd Building Group, has been appointed deputy chairman of the construction business.

Fraser's job as director of Shepherd Construction has been filled by Peter Mason, who has worked for Shepherd for almost 20 years. Vaughan Burnand has been made estimating and procurement director.

Meanwhile, accounts recently filed at Companies House reveal Shepherd Construction lost £962 000 on ordinary activities in the year to 30 June 1998. Turnover was £206m, down from £215m the year before.

The contractor failed to make it into the black for the third year running, blaming the loss on two contracts.

"Results were affected in the year by substantial losses on two complex contracts which are now complete. A comprehensive risk analysis regime has been put in place to avoid future losses," the company says in the accounts.

The company ran into difficulties on the contract to build the Ministry of Defence's Defence Evaluation and Research Agency project at Farnborough.

The construction business lost £2.9m in 1997, and £1.7m the year before. The picture was brighter for Shepherd's parent company, Shepherd Group, where pre-tax profit rose from £11m in 1997 to £15.1m.

Shepherd Group chairman Paul Shepherd said: "Although Shepherd Construction made a small loss in 1998, construction activities as a whole moved firmly into profit, with an encouraging second half."

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