Airline’s head of branding joins contractor to improve relations with supply chain and customers

Construction group ROK has hired a brand expert from British Airways to improve its customer service.

Garvis Snook, the chief executive of Rok, has ended a six-month search by recruiting Sue Moore, the 46-year-old head of branding at BA.

Snook said he had wanted somebody from outside the industry for the post. He said: “If I’d recruited from inside the industry I would have ended up having more of the same.”

He said Moore offered a fresh perspective from an international industry to improve the firm’s identity and the way it worked with its supply chain. He said: “We want to look at how we deliver the total experience to customers.”

One of Moore’s first tasks will be to work out a branding strategy for Rok’s expansion plans. The firm is aiming to become the “UK’s local builder” by tripling its number of outlets from 27 to more than 75.

Last month Rok purchased the construction arm of John Dickie Group of Glasgow for £750,000 to extend its coverage into Scotland.

We want to look at how we deliver the total experience to customers

Garvis Snook, chief executive

Snook said the firm’s average project size now stood at about £1.4m and the firm’s construction arm was taking advantage of an increase in repair and maintenance work. This has also contributed to an order book of £600m over the next 10 years. Snook said: “Repair and maintenance is now about 35-40% of our construction business.”

He added that the firm, which is based in the South-west, was happy to be in local and comparatively low-end markets. He said: “It spreads the risk over a wider area, is less exposed to highly competitive tendering and is not likely be involved in PFI, where there is a long lead in, high costs and a long tail of risk. We like to be doing non-sexy projects.”

The firm posted a pre-tax profit of £4.3m for the six months to 30 June 2004, an improvement of 26% on last year’s figure. Turnover increased by 24% to £213.5m and construction operating margins edged up to 2%.

The results were slightly marred by a £500, 000 loss by the firm’s Spaceage building components division. A new management team has been brought in to run this arm.