Alan Lovell says that Jarvis can secure its future by concentrating on rail and road infrastructure.

The Independent called Alan Lovell, the new chief executive of Jarvis “one of the City’s lowest-profile characters” this weekend, but that didn’t stop him giving two sizeable interviews to set out his vision for the ailing company.

Lovell worked his magic at Slazenger Dunlop, and before that Costain, bringing both companies back from the brink of ruin. He is confident he can resuscitate Jarvis too. He likens it to Costain, which he says: “got into trouble making investments outside its core area of expertise.”

Of the contractor’s efforts in the PFI sector, Lovell said: “I have no doubt that the group was, er … over-enthusiastic”.

Lovell is confident that by moving away from the fraught business of construction contracts and concentrating on the core areas of rail and road infrastructure the company’s fortunes will turn around.

The first step in the process will be selling its stake in Tubelines, a transaction awaiting approval from London mayor Ken Livingstone.