Skanska has appointed the head of its US operations as the global contractor’s new chief executive and president.
US-born Stuart Graham will replace Claes Björk immediately, despite Skanska announcing in June that Björk would step down next July. Analysts say that Björk has been under increasing pressure to go after a series of disappointing results.

Skanska said Graham will soon move to the group’s Stockholm headquarters to start his new duties. His appointment was tipped by Building in June. He was believed to have been favourite to succeed Björk because of the strong performance of Skanka’s US operations.

Graham joined Skanska in 1990 after it bought US contractor Sordoni, which Graham part-owned. He replaced Björk as head of Skanska US in 1997.

During his tenure the US business grew from a £200m-a-year business in 1990 to become the second-largest construction firm in the US with an annual turnover of more than £3bn. Its earnings increased 300% over the period.

Since Björk became chief executive, Skanska’s share price has dropped 11%. The group, which has a £1.4bn turnover business in the UK, cut 3500 jobs worldwide last November.