Bovis Lend Lease paid off its incoming finance director one week before he was due to start work in May.

The decision to remove Rod Holdsworth’s job at such short notice left him without employment, as he had already resigned from Morrison, the support services firm owned by AWG, in January.

Bovis had been on the lookout for a finance director since last summer when Andrew Silverbeck left to join environmental consultancy ERM. However, matters became complicated when Bob Johnston, Bovis’ global chief executive, quit in April and was replaced by Australian Mark Menhinnitt.

Menhinnitt decided to run Bovis from Australia rather than London so as to be close to its parent Lend Lease. The company is understood to have asked temporary finance director Paul Walsh, an Australian, to take over on a permanent basis rather than asking Holdsworth, who is British, to relocate.

After his departure, Silverbeck took Bovis to an employment tribunal. During the hearing, which went against him, he said the company had changed its mind on his successor.

Alluding to Holdsworth’s situation, he said: “In Bovis Lend Lease, a lot of decisions are made and then remade.”

Silverbeck is considering taking Bovis to the High Court to pursue a £89,000 bonus which he claims to be entitled to.

Holdsworth, who is in his early forties, was finance director at Morrison since 2004. He joined from Alfred McAlpine, where he was interim finance director of the £350m capital projects division.

Between 2000 and 2003 he was finance director of consultant engineer Whitbybird.

Holdsworth would not comment on Bovis, but said: “I’m looking for my next challenge. I’m after a group finance director role.”

A Bovis spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on personal confidential matters such as these.”

• Bovis Lend Lease has established a non-profit company to address the industry’s skills shortage. Be Onsite will offer onsite training and employment. It will be funded by Bovis and supported by its supply chain, in partnership with Jobcentre Plus, ConstructionSkills, the London Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council.