Holt to join problem-hit contractor as exec chairman

Lakehouse has hired Bob Holt as executive chairman from rival Mears as part of the new board’s strategy to improve the fortunes of the contractor.

Lakehouse has been hit by two profit warnings and a boardroom coup so far this year, resulting in its chief executive Stuart Black departing and its founder Steve Rawlings and two allies joining the board.

Holt (pictured) has played a leading role at Mears for 20 years, floating it on the stock exchange and growing it to an £880m-turnover firm. He remains the firm’s non-executive chairman.

Lakehouse will ask shareholders to agree Holt’s appointment as executive chairman at a meeting next month, allowing Ric Piper to step down as non-executive chairman but stay on the board. Holt will be paid £225,000 a year by Lakehouse in salary and consultancy fees.

Robert Leggett, senior independent non-exec director, said: “We are delighted that we have attracted a very senior candidate of the calibre of Bob Holt.

“He is a sector specialist, has a proven track record of operational expertise and is expected to be key to helping Lakehouse restore value to our shareholders.

“We are confident shareholders will recognise his potential positive contribution and support his appointment.”

Holt said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Board of Lakehouse and believe that my experience in the areas in which the Group operates will be of benefit.

“The Board is committed to return significant shareholder value and I look forward to working with the team to deliver that strategy.”

Lakehouse issued its second fo two profit warnings in May, alongside a pre-tax loss of £1.8m for the half-year to March 2016.

The firm said the profit warning - in which it downgraded expectations for full-year profit - was prompted by it facing “headwinds” in its regeneration and energy services businesses.