Managing director of recruitment company will be replaced by Tim Cook

Robert Smith, managing director of recruitment consultant Hays Property and Construction, has surprised the industry by announcing his departure from the company.

The prominent industry commentator sent an email to his contacts on Monday. In the message, he says he is leaving the London-based consultant at Christmas but does not explain his reasons.

He will be replaced by deputy managing director, Tim Cook.

Neither Smith nor Hays commented on the departure, but sources say it resulted from a restructuring instigated by Andy McRae, the firm’s new UK managing director. McRae was formerly head of the Asia Pacific business.

Meanwhile, Hays is one of the construction recruitment consultants involved in an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that began in July.

OFT investigations are usually triggered by a specific complaint. The competition regulator said: “The OFT can confirm that it has visited several business premises in England as part of a Competition Act investigation into allegations of anti-competitive behaviour in recruitment services for the construction industry.

“No assumption should be made at this stage. The OFT can not decide if the law has been breached until it has completed its investigations and assessed the evidence.”

Hays is one of the industry’s biggest recruitment consultants in construction. It has three specialist divisions within the industry, focusing on construction, trades and labour, and M&E. It has a network of 75 offices across the UK.