Phillip Cooper, the former boss of failed contractor Ballast, has quit as managing director of Hochtief’s PFI division.
Cooper left Hochtief PPP Solutions at the end of last month. He has moved to the HSBC Investment Bank, where he is understood to be looking after more than 30 PFI special purpose vehicles.
He took over Hochtief’s fledgling PFI division at the start of last year. He had previously been with the Ballast, the UK subsidiary of Dutch contractor Ballast Nedam. This collapsed in controversial circumstances after making losses and losing the support of its parent.
Cooper has been succeeded at Hochtief by his deputy, Roger Potts. Potts also has a colourful history, having been a commercial director of Jarvis Projects, the special purpose vehicle arm of the ailing support services group. Hochtief effectively bought that division when it bought three of Jarvis’ preferred bidder contracts last year.
Potts told Building that he is planning to take Hochtief into new markets next year – at present it focuses on schools, and has five contracts that have reached preferred bidder stage or financial close. He said it was hoping to win a contract in courts, waste, housing or NHS LIFT by the second quarter of 2006.
Potts added: “Fortunately, the business plan has been agreed to. It is not like there is a new managing director coming in and sweeping clean. There will be no mergers or acquisitions.”
The company is currently waiting on two school contract awards at Salford and East Down & Lisburn. If Hochtief wins these, it will have hit its target to have seven contracts by 2006.
Potts declined to comment on rumours that Hochtief is interested in buying Mowlem, the troubled contractor that is subject to a bid by Carillion. However, sources at Hochtief said it was highly unlikely that it would join the running. One source added: “As far as we are concerned, it is Carillion’s now.”
Hochtief PPP Solutions runs as a separate company to the UK construction division, which is based in Swindon and headed by Stephen Ives.
Contracts in the PFI division include the Cork School of Music, Bangor and Comber Schools and the Wright Robinson School in Manchester, which specialises in sport and the arts.