38-year-old Taylor made chief executive, Spanswick to push ahead in Europe and Lampl takes back seat.
Bovis Lend Lease has announced a boardroom reshuffle that puts 38-year old Australian Ross Taylor in the top spot as chief executive.

John Spanswick, currently a divisional managing director, becomes managing director for Europe, replacing John Andersen, who has moved to Lend Lease’s European property arm.

The two heaviest hitters from Bovis have also moved. Chief executive Luther Cochrane, 51, has been made group chairman and Sir Frank Lampl has relinquished his chairmanship to become president, a role originally given to Taylor in December.

Sir Frank, 74, said that Taylor would be the most visible face of the company as it started out on a five-year business plan. At a meeting on Monday, Sir Frank explained his decision to take a back seat.

He said: “We have put together a five-year business plan, and at my age, you don’t commit to a five-year plan. I decided I needed to step back to do something else useful.” Sir Frank will continue to work on strategic planning, expansion in Europe and looking after key clients, among other things.

He also explained why the merged company had spent eight months formulating its business plan before reshaping the board. “Research by KPMG has showed that 83% of all mergers in construction fail, so we spent the first eight months trying to avoid that,” he said.

The heart has to be healthy for us to be able to grow our emerging businesses

Ross Taylor, New Chief Executive

The company has spent more than £1m on arranging conferences and travel to integrate the two firms. “We needed to overcome the them-and-us factor,” said Sir Frank. He said the changes had been entirely the Bovis Lend Lease board’s decision and had not been dictated by the parent company. “Nobody told us to do this,” he said. “We told the chief executive of Lend Lease how we wanted to run the company and he nodded his head.”

As of Wednesday, the board began a tour of all the company’s regions to explain the business plan to staff.

Taylor told Building that the new strategy would be to keep the balance of work at its current 60% fee-based to 40% lump sum, to defend the company’s core markets in the UK, Australia and the USA and to expand into new markets and sectors.

“The heart has to be healthy for us to be able to grow our emerging businesses,” he said.

The company will try to increase its presence in continental Europe, South America and Asia. Spanswick, who was Lend Lease’s account holder for Bovis for the past six years and made his name on the Bluewater retail park in Kent, will oversee European expansion.

Our biggest targets will be France, Spain, Germany and Italy

John Spanswick, NEW MD for Europe

“Our biggest targets will be France, Spain, Germany and Italy,” he said.

Spanswick said the expansion could involve acquisitions and will certainly involve an increase in staff. About 1000 of Bovis Lend Lease’s 2800 staff are employed in Europe.

The company will also aim to expand its presence in the microelectronics, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

It will also move resources to Lend Lease’s “integrated real estate” business, which offers private finance initiative-style solutions for governments and business.