Stuart Black officially took up the role of chief executive of social housing repair and maintenance business Mears this week.

He had been groomed for the position since he joined the board of the alternative investment market-listed company as chief operating officer in November last year.

He takes over from Bob Holt, who will retain his role as executive chairman, and spend more time on developing strategy. The announcement was made at the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday.

Holt was upbeat about the prospects for the company and said it had experienced “buoyant trading conditions in the last four months”, which meant that it was in line to meet the top end of market expectations.

Recent wins have included a £50m project to deliver part of Nottingham city council’s Decent Homes programme over a five-year period.

It has also been selected by Wakefield and District Housing as one of three partners to undertake £420m of work over five years.

Holt said: “The size of the bid pipeline for contract tenders remains healthy. We are working on bids worth £700m and our current order book is more than £900m.”

He added that although margins remained under pressure, Mears had managed to improve margins through operating efficiencies.