Construction boss will take over from Bovis-bound Graham Prothero

Galliford Try will make the firm’s construction boss Bill Hocking its third chief executive since March once it completes the sale of its housing arm to Bovis Homes.

Graham Prothero, the current group chief executive, will step down from Galliford Try after the sale is wrapped up in the first week of January to become chief operating officer of Bovis Homes.

The Bovis deal means Galliford Try, which confirmed the management rejig in a statement to the London stock exchange, will now focus solely on contracting, although it does have a PPP investments arm which made a profit of £4.5m from a revenue of £31.5m last year.

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Hocking, who joined Galliford Try in 2015 from Skanska, will replace Prothero who took over from Peter Truscott after he left in March for the top job at housebuilder Crest Nicholoson.

Prothero had carried out a review of the construction business which saw the firm spend £5m getting rid of 300 jobs over the summer and promise to slim down the size of the division.

In its latest accounts, construction’s turnover fell £300m to £1.4bn in the year to June with Prothero’s review deciding it would only concentrate on three sectors in the future – buildings, water infrastructure and highways.

But the scale of the task facing Zimbabwe-born Hocking (pictured) to revive the construction business was underlined in its latest results with the division racking up a £71m pre-tax loss in the year to June.

The firm has been chastened by huge losses on two jobs north of the border – prompting a rights issue last year – with the new Queensferry Crossing near Edinburgh and a bypass around Aberdeen which it was building with Carillion and Balfour Beatty costing the firm over £100m.

The deals, both for Transport Scotland, were inked before Hocking joined but he told Building last year he wouldn’t have signed them and added: “We will not do mega, lump sum fixed-price jobs anymore.”

The two businesses now heading off to Bovis, which is led by Greg Fitzgerald, the man who brought Hocking into the Galliford Try when he was chief executive, had a combined income of £1.4bn.

The £1.1bn deal, which is expected to complete in the first few days of the new year, will see Bovis buy the Linden Homes business plus Galliford Try’s housing partnerships division.

Bovis said the combined business will create a top five housebuilder producing 12,000 homes per year.