The 30-year-old, who has a 29.75% stake in the 400-strong firm, is expected to get MDA’s approval to put a representative of his investment business, STG, on the QS’s non-executive board in the next few weeks.
His nominee is Edward van Dyk, chairman of Corporate Synergy, STG’s corporate adviser for the past three years. Allesch-Taylor, who made his name in property, said: “Edward specialises in taking companies to the market, so he is the best horse for the course. It is, of course, subject to MDA being happy with it and Edward being happy with its proposals.” Allesch-Taylor said he wanted MDA on a “regulated market” – this could be the London stock exchange or the Alternative Investment Market.
After surprising MDA by buying his stake last May, Allesch-Taylor said relations between MDA and his company had improved. MDA chairman Richard Houghton said the two were now working together more closely. Relations between the firms had been tense since Allesch-Taylor secured his stake from MDA shareholders without warning.
It is not yet clear whether the MDA board will go with STG’s plan to float. Houghton said: “We have a number of options – some of STG’s views we support; others we differ on at present.”
MDA is making efforts to reinvent itself. It launched a new corporate logo two weeks ago, but Allesch-Taylor is pushing for more fundamental change.
Allesch-Taylor wants MDA to become a cradle-to-grave property services business similar to WS Atkins. One of van Dyk’s roles is expected to be assisting the search for merger partners and acquisition targets in the support services sector.
Allesch-Taylor said there were benefits in combining these types of business. “If you have a QS firm with 20 offices in Europe and an engineering firm also based in Europe, the chances are that you could merge the offices and save money. Office costs are very expensive, particularly in London.
If you save £2m on rent and rates, that goes straight on the bottom line of the business.”
Allesch-Taylor also revealed plans to use the Internet to transform MDA’s fortunes. His own company, STG, holds 60% of US firm Internet Holdings, of which he is chief executive. STG itself is considering a construction-related Internet deal, although Allesch-Taylor refused to give any details on it.
He said the future for companies like MDA was on the net: “MDA was one of the first firms in the 1960s to integrate IT into its business. It may find itself at the forefront of the technological revolution again.”