The group, which last week returned to profit under the auspices of new chief executive Peter Watson, has reorganised into three divisions: civil engineering (including rail), building and process engineering.
Former management consultant Watson, who joined the group seven months ago, said: "The split will not only bring the benefits of market and client specialisation but will also facilitate a more structured development of senior management." He expects to appoint at least one more non-executive director by May.
Birse reported pre-tax profit of £2.4m for the six months to 31 October 1999, compared with a £1.9m loss a year earlier. Watson attributed the turnaround to the firm's concentration on clients that could "offer acceptable margins and reliable cash flows". Turnover for the group fell £13m to £181m, and net construction margins doubled from 0.5% to 1%.