Jarvis chairman blames press as he steps down from rail contractor.
Paris Moayedi stepped down as chairman of support services group Jarvis this week citing the politicised blame culture linked to PFI as the reason for his departure.

A source close to Moayedi, who turned 65 last week, said that he was "sick to death" of being hounded by the national press and was taking a "well earned rest". He is to leave with a £400,000 pay-off, together with shares worth £8.7m.

The source said Moayedi had become increasingly disgruntled over coverage of high-profile Jarvis projects. He said: "Paris believes the PFI process to be too political, and because of this, every time a project goes slightly wrong it generates negative headlines. He is a businessman not a politician and because of this has found it increasingly difficult to operate effectively."

The source added that Paris had a great affinity and love for construction and would try to remain on the periphery of the industry.

It is understood that Moayedi had been taken aback by the sustained onslaught Jarvis received after the Potters Bar rail crash on 10 May last year and the King's Cross train derailment in October.

The firm has taken a battering in the national press for refusing to rule out sabotage as a cause of the Potters Bar crash, in which seven died.

My priorities will be to ensure that the company regains its reputation as best of breed in each of its operating divisions

New chairman Steve Norris

Moayedi announced his departure to the stock exchange on Tuesday, saying it had been a great privilege to lead Jarvis over the past nine years.

He said: "The untimely death of [former Jarvis chairman] Duncan McGowan meant that our succession planning had to take a different course and I agreed to become executive chairman in order to effect an orderly handover to our chief executive, Kevin Hyde."

He said the handover was now completed and he did not wish to be considered for the post of non-executive chairman. He said: "Therefore I have decided to step down from the board completely in the knowledge that Kevin is the right man to lead the company and to face the challenges of the future."

London mayoral candidate Steven Norris will succeed Moayedi as non-executive chairman for the time being, receiving a £100,000 salary for a two-day week. He will seek to strengthen the non-executive membership of the board.

Jonathan Agnew, 62, chairman of the Nationwide building society has been appointed as a non-executive director to support Norris. Owen Luder, another non-executive director, has asked to step down.

Norris said that it was a tribute to Moayedi's drive and skill that Jarvis was a market leader in rail, road, PFI and the facilities management businesses. He said: "It is an honour to be asked by my colleagues to take on the role of chairman. My priorities will be to ensure that under Kevin's leadership the company regains its reputation as best of breed in each of its operating divisions."

Jarvis reported that pre-tax profit had increased 77% to £33.7m for the six months ending 30 September compared with the same period last year. It said turnover rose 24% to £710.4m.