Multiplex has given David Yelland, the former Sun editor, the job of looking after its media relations in an attempt to improve its image in the UK.

David Yelland, who is now working for PR outfit Weber Shandwick, took over the Multiplex account last week after the contractor parted company with Bell Pottinger.

Multiplex suffered bad publicity recently with accusations of that the Wembley national stadium project would be delayed, and claims by sacked steel erectors, who have been picketing the site, that the company has treated them unfairly.

A deal was finally struck this week between the unions, Multiplex and the employment agency that took over the subcontract to get the workers back on site. It is understood that discussions are continuing over compensation terms.

The latest twist in the Wembley saga has emerged as it has come to light that Multiplex is trying to recruit a UK managing director.

It is understood that the Australian-owned contractor had approached Benny Kelly, a director of Sir Robert McAlpine, informally about the post but he turned it down.

It is also understood that Kelly’s right-hand men, Peter Carruthers and Vince Corrigon, have declined offers, even though all three were offered six-figure sums to do the job.

It is understood that the three men declined to take the job as they received good packages within Sir Robert McAlpine. A source said:

“Sir Robert McAlpine has a very good reputation for retaining its top staff. That’s because the McAlpine family is keen to have talented people on the staff who feel like they have a job for life.”

It is believed that Multiplex was keen to poach Carruthers because he delivered the Birmingham Bullring project. He would have been asked to oversee the White City retail development in west London.

A source close to the company said that Multiplex has big plans to expand in Britain and was actively trying to poach key figures in the UK market.

The source said a bid for a UK contractor was imminent, although it would be dependent on how a Multiplex bid for developer Chelsfield unfolded.

The source said: “Multiplex is pursuing Chelsfield; with a developer of that size and UK presence, Multiplex would certainly need extra contracting capacity.

A Multiplex spokesperson said the company would not comment on an appointment of a UK managing director.