Appointment of Nick Pollard is latest in a string of boardroom changes at UK business

Bovis Lend Lease has poached Skanska board director Nick Pollard as chief operating officer of its UK division in the latest high-profile change at the top of the troubled company.

The move comes almost a year after Murray Coleman, the chief executive, axed the role of chief operating officer in favour of taking personal control of operations. This was to improve transparency after poor financial performance.

The past two years have been a turbulent time at the contractor, thanks to the departure of high-profile figures, including Coleman’s predecessor as chief executive, Jason Millett, and a reorganisation of both its south and north UK businesses.

Nick Pollard

Pollard, formerly executive vice president at Skanksa, headed the company’s PFI and PPP business. He will report directly to Coleman, and will spearhead a UK expansion programme.

Coleman said: “I am looking forward to welcoming Nick to the Bovis Lend Lease team, and I am confident that his skills and experience will be of great benefit to our business as we pursue our growth strategy and further establish ourselves as the number-one choice for our clients and supply chain.”

Before joining Skanska in 2005, Pollard was a director at Network Rail. He was at the firm at the time of the crash at Potters Bar in Hertfordshire in May 2002.

A source close to Bovis this week said Pollard would be groomed as a potential successor to Coleman, who is rumoured to favour a return to Australia within the next five years.

The source said: “Murray doesn’t want to stay here forever. He was brought in to put clear lines in the business, to clear it up and then hand it over.”

The appointment indicates that Bovis is recovering from a troubled period in which it has sufferd hits on problem contracts, principally a Manchester hospital PFI and Bridgewater Place in Leeds.

The company posted a £40m loss in British and European operations in March.