Shepherd Group has promoted Patrick Shepherd to chairman of its construction and engineering division.
Shepherd, currently deputy chairman, will work with Vaughan Burnand, who has been promoted to chief executive of the division. The operation is the largest business unit within Shepherd Group, with a turnover of £400m.

The appointments follow a rocky patch for the company. In November last year, Patrick Shepherd's cousin Paul Shepherd, the former group chairman, began an employment tribunal claim against the group alleging wrongful and unfair dismissal and seeking "substantial damages" (see Building, 8 November 2002). He also issued a High Court writ.

After Paul Shepherd wrote to the company's staff detailing the events surrounding his dismissal, group chairman Alan Fletcher was forced to issue his own letter to staff describing what he called an "irretrievable breakdown in working relations between Paul Shepherd and all other members of the board".

The firm's problems were compounded when it announced a pre-tax loss of £1.9m for the year ending 30 June. This was caused by a £10.8m loss on one unidentified design-and-build contract.