David Allen goes after four years in role

Wates chief executive David Allen is stepping down with immediate effect after four years in the role, the company has announced.

The firm’s near 4,000 staff were told this morning that Allen was going and is being replaced on an interim basis by chief financial officer Philip Wainwright.

Building understands that Cardiff-born Allen, who turned 50 in February, is not leaving because of ill health or having another job lined up.

David Allen, Chief Executive, Wates Group

David Allen joined Wates at the start of 2016

Instead, it is believed he and the board had a bust-up over the future direction of the business with the board deciding to look for new leadership as a result.

Allen became chief executive in April 2018, replacing Andrew Davies who left in late 2017 to join Carillion before that firm imploded at the start of 2018. Davies is now the chief executive of Kier.

It is thought that Wainwright, who joined at the end of 2018 from Willmott Dixon, is unlikely to be a candidate for the top role with the 57-year-old telling the Wates hierarchy that he is committed to the chief financial officer position in the long term.

Wates said it had already begun the search for a successor and in a statement group chairman Sir James Wates said: “During his time as our chief executive, David’s intelligence, commitment, and compassion has stood the organisation in good stead and in particular ensured that the Wates Group successfully responded to the challenges of the pandemic. The board thanks David for his contributions and wishes him the very best for the future.

“We have an outstanding management team in place, and we have the right long-term strategy – both to take advantage of market opportunities as well as to meet our objective of handing over to the next generation of family ownership a stronger, more sustainable enterprise.”

In its last set of results, Wates’ turnover last year jumped 12% to £1.63bn on pre-tax profit up to £35.9m from just £839,000 in 2020.