Chairman Stef Stefanou will take up chief executive role after Rob Johnson departs

The chief executive of concrete specialist Doyle is to make a sudden departure after four years at the company.

Stef Stefanou

Rob Johnson has stepped down from his position and will leave the firm at the end of the month. Stef Stefanou, the company’s chairman, will become chief executive, a role he held until Johnson’s appointment in 2005.

It is understood that Johnson’s departure follows a series of discussions about the firm’s strategy.

In an email to staff this week, Stefanou said: “Rob was appointed as chief executive three years ago to lead an expansion of the business in scale and scope. However, the prevailing and projected market conditions mean that this can no longer be the case and we are taking a number of measures to enable us better to face the challenge of the present economic climate.”

Johnson, 50, joined Doyle from support services firm Jarvis, where he was commercial director. He took over as chief executive at Doyle the following year, when Stefanou, now 67, took the role of chairman.

The news comes as the group, which includes fit-out firmIbex Interiors, prepares to announce a turnover of about £200m for the year ending next month. About half of that figure will be from Ibex.

However, the firm said this week it would make nine staff redundant at its Bell Projects building subsidiary after a year of poor performance in that division.

Stefanou is the single biggest shareholder in Doyle, with a 22% stake in the group. The remainder is owned by about 25 other people, including Johnson.