John Gibson is advising contractor on plan to take over £80m Oaklands college job in St Albans

John Gibson, the former chairman of failed contractor Verry Construction, has surfaced as a consultant for Oxford-based contractor Leadbitter.

Building understands Gibson is advising the £318m-turnover firm on a bid to take on one of Verry’s contracts. A source familiar with the situation said: “John is working as a consultant to Leadbitter, but it could become a more permanent position in the future.”

It is understood that Leadbitter is hoping to take over the £80m Oaklands College in St Albans.

Leadbitter chief executive Bob Rendell denied suggestions Gibson would become a board member.

He said: “John is currently acting as a consultant to Leadbitter on the Oaklands project and other opportunities previously being pursued by William Verry.”

I’m extremely disappointed about things, but I just want to get on with my life

John Gibson, Verry Holdings

Gibson said: “I’m not ready to talk about anything at the moment.” He has not made any public comment since Verry went into administration last month, despite questions over the levels of intra-group debt in his William Verry Holdings empire, which includes St Albans City FC.

When Verry Construction went under it was owed £2.6m by four firms in the group, including more than £500,000 by the football club. It is understood that the debt led to a row and the exile of Craig Jones, the firm’s chief executive, who was unhappy that the contractor was lending so much to other firms.

When asked about the demise of Verry, Gibson said: “I’m extremely disappointed about things, but I just want to get on with my life at the moment. What happened has happened and I’m not in the habit of mud-slinging.”

There was uncertainty this week over whether the Oaklands project would go ahead because it relies on funding from the stalled Learning and Skills Council programme. One source close to project said 60% of the funding had been lined up, but another said: “Yes, the college has its own funds, but it will need funding from the LSC to proceed in its current form.”