NG Bailey will begin the hunt for a permanent replacement for former chief executive Mark Andrews in the new year

Chris Newton, the former finance director and acting chief executive, said he would like the job on a permanent basis, but said the £600m-turnover company, which is controlled by the Bailey family, would go through a formal recruitment process.

He said: “The family will go to the market to find the best person for the job. I’d be an idiot not to want it, but I’d far rather be tested against the market and achieve a formal appointment.”

Chris Newton
Chris Newton

Newton refused to be drawn on who might apply for the job, but reiterated denials by the company that Andrews’ exit was prompted by a cost-cutting drive or linked to last year’s £10.8m pre-tax loss. He admitted the Bailey family was “disappointed” by the result but added: “This handover had been prepared for for months. Mark and I still talk regularly and he has been enormously helpful to me.”

Andrews left without lining up a new role, which Newton said gave him “time to think about what he’ll do next”.

Setting out his plans should he land the job, Newton said there would be no radical departures from the past but the company needed “fine tuning” to get through the recession.

He said: “We have made the business more customer facing and will become more involved in front-end design, an area in which you have to prove your credentials.”

He said there was scope to make bolt-on acquisitions but there was no pressure to grow the top line of the business. “There are no obvious holes that need filling, but we'd add expertise if there was a demand for it,” he said.

Newton also spoke of his sense of frustration over the current state of limbo in the run-up to a general election. He added: “Construction is a sensible place to put money. It’s for all to see any Tory government would cut spending sooner than Labour.”

Chris Newton’s CV

1978: graduated in civil engineering from Imperial College, London

1978–1986: financial accountant, assistant to group managing director and assistant to president at Tate & Lyle

1986–1991: president of Technostaal and managing director of Milltech

1991–1996: business development manager and finance and planning director at Tate & Lyle,

1995–1998: managing director of Odessa sugar company

1998: finance director at DePuy International

1999–2002: managing director of Britspace Modular Systems

2002–2009: finance director at NG Bailey group