Ex-Bovis Lend Lease UK boss ignores the call of industry giants to join upwardly mobile Artisan as deputy chief executive

So, after all this time, it wasn’t airports-to-shopping mall developer Peel Holdings, contracting giant Amec or even a rumoured position at Shepherd (I understand that he was never actually offered a role here, just talked to by headhunters).

No, ex-Bovis Lend Lease UK boss Jason Millett has instead turned up at Artisan, a developer and sometime contractor that only has a turnover of £53m. Sure, he gets the title of deputy chief executive, but surely it’s a bit of a backwards step for one of the industry’s most talked about figures?

Well, that was my instant reaction this morning (10 January). A few hours later it starts to make some sense. First of all, Artisan is based in Manchester, and it’s fairly well known that Millett wants to work near his young family in the north west. So for personal reasons, yes.

Professionally too, though: this is a growing business, something Millett’s name can be attached to. As deputy chief executive, he will one day succeed chief exec/chairman founder Carol Ainscow, unless something extraordinary happens.

Most importantly, it takes Millett away from pure construction and PFI. He'll be able to add regeneration, housing, and property development strings to his bow and he'll get exposure to REITs. In a few years, then, he will be an even hotter commodity, and could land himself a much tastier job.

Also, it’s not out of the question that he could take Artisan public one day – it looks like the type of firm that would be ripe for an AIM listing* – giving him PLC experience. Then the likes of Amec really might come calling.