Construction group Mace is set to restructure its senior management by promoting Steve Pycroft to chief executive as the company moves into a new phase of expansion

Bob White will step down as chief executive at the end of 2004, to make way for Pycroft, although he will retain his role as chairman.

Pycroft, who became the second biggest shareholder in the company after a management buyout in 2001, has been the chief operating officer for the past three years and has been at Mace for a total of 12 years.

White said that it was time for a change and that Pycroft’s promotion was part of a long-term plan.

“It signifies the handing over of the old regime to the new. These boys will be looking to do something bigger and better,” he said.

Pycroft is expected to take a more public and visible role, where in the past White was considered the front man of Mace.

Pycroft said that the company had achieved growth through diversifying into other sectors and expanding geographically. By the end of 2004 Mace will have opened an office in China and Russia, and the US is a possible target for 2005.

Mace is hoping to achieve £5m profit on a turnover of £160m for 2004. White and Pycroft highlighted urban regeneration, education and housing as sectors where good opportunities for growth.

Both stressed that Pycroft would be leading a board that has been together since the management buyout and that careful succession planning had been important.

“While we’re changing our roles here, the plan doesn’t change that much,” said White.

In May, Mace set up a consultancy division called Sense, which it intends to more than treble in size by 2006.

Last week Mace launched the industry’s first in-house construction and property recruitment consultancy, called People.