Movement for Innovation chair wants to stay in job after leaving his troubled contracting firm.
Alan Crane has said he wants to stay on as chairman of the Movement for Innovation, despite his dramatic departure from ailing contractor Christiani & Nielsen.

The Movement for Innovation job is the latest of Crane’s reforming roles in the industry. He was chairman of the Construction Confederation in 1997-98.

Crane, 55, said of his Movement for Innovation role on Wednesday: “I will continue as long as the minister [Nick Raynsford] wants me to continue to do what I am doing. The two issues are totally separate.”

However, some industry chiefs said Crane’s resignation from the loss-making business would be a blow to the credibility of the Egan body.

A spokesperson for the DETR refused to be drawn on these suggestions. He said: “Alan Crane was asked to join the board in his personal capacity in the light of his wide experience in the industry and his personal enthusiasm for change, rather than as a representative of any firm or organisation.”

Graham Watts of the Construction Industry Council said he would defend Crane’s Movement for Innovation position if it were questioned, saying “his role at Christiani & Nielsen is completely different”. He added: “His work at M4I has been very successful.”

I will continue as long as the minister wants me to continue to do what I am doing. The two issues are totally separate

Alan Crane

Crane, a former Labour councillor, was given the Movement for Innovation role in 1998.

The group was set up to implement the recommendations of the Egan report. In the role, Crane said that each week he spends about five hours of his work time and a further 15 hours of his time on Movement for Innovation business.

Speaking about the future, Crane ruled out a return to politics, saying he would pursue a role in the business world. “I am discussing a couple of things which could involve more than one company,” he said.

On his reasons for leaving Christiani & Nielsen, he said: “I decided that I can spend the time I put into this industry in a better and more personally rewarding way elsewhere. There is no ill feeling, not on my part, anyway. I am quite happy.”

Thirty years in contracting

1970s-80s Twenty years with Bovis. Joins as project manager and later becomes director of international division 1993 Quits Bovis to join 900-strong consulting engineer Travis Morgan as chief executive 1995 Travers Morgan goes into receivership and is bought by Symonds 1995 Joins £80m-turnover Christiani & Nielsen as chief executive 1997 Made chairman of the Construction Confederation 1998 Appointed head of Movement for Innovation 2000 Resigns as chief executive of Christiani & Nielsen after £7.4m loss