Firm latest to pick up staff left looking for work after contractor’s collapse in September

The former boss of Buckingham’s HS2 business has joined John F Hunt to head up the contracting arm of its £80m regeneration business.

Simon Hyams started this week and will be based out of the firm’s Market Harborough office in Leicestershire.

Hyams spent more than eight years at Buckingham, which collapsed at the beginning of September, beginning as construction director before stepping up to head its HS2 unit at the start of 2020.

Simon Hyams MD John F Hunt Regeneration

Simon Hyams began his new role this week

Hunt said Sam Hall, managing director of its technical and professional services arm, will lead and expand the regeneration unit’s technical capacity. Hyams will be given specific responsibilities centred around its contracting activities including enabling, earthworks and infrastructure.

Ben Williams, chief executive of the regeneration business, which employs around 100 people, said: “[Hyams’] decision to join our company is a clear endorsement of our commitment to reinforce and expand our service offering, client base, and the sectors we operate in.”

Schemes the firm is currently working on include a £32m deal for Henry Boot Developments to clear industrial land, which includes landfill and a former copper works, in Walsall. Work is expected to complete next summer to make way for logistics warehouses.

John F Hunt is set to release its latest accounts for the year to March 2023 shortly.

In its last set of accounts, the firm, which in recent years has branched out of its demolition roots to include energy and regen work, said turnover in the year to March 2022 was up 35% to £140m with group pre-tax profit up 43% to £10.6m.

The firm is expected to post a turnover for the latest financial year of around £195m and pre-tax profit in excess of £12m.

Keltbray has also brought in a senior figure from Buckingham with the the firm hiring Simon Walkley, a former group managing director of Buckingham, to head up its rail division.