Debbie White to leave Interserve amid major divisional restructure
Interserve CEO Debbie White is to leave the company by the end of the year as the group announced a major divisional operating structure for its three divisions.
Ms White will step down from her role as chief executive officer as of 31 December 2019, having outlined her intention to leave the company in March.
The company said her role will not be replaced with Interserve Construction Limited, Equipment Services and Support Services each having their own managing director and chairman instead.
The chairman of each division will sit on the Interserve Group Limited board, headed by group chairman Alan Lovell.
The group wide functions will be led by Mark Morris, executive director and chief financial officer.
Alan Lovell said: “Since joining Interserve Group Limited in July, I have been impressed with the scale and capabilities of the Group, alongside the outstanding work we deliver for clients.
“This new operating structure will provide us with increased focus in the right areas and ensure that we are well placed to continue this work. By recognising the diversity of the three business divisions and giving each one the right governance and operating framework it will enable them to deliver sustainable growth in the distinct markets they serve.”
Debbie White added: “Across its three business divisions, Interserve has significant opportunities as a best-in-class partner to the public and private sector.
“The new operating structure for the group, alongside our shareholders continued support, will ensure that we make strong progress delivering the very best services for our customers and have the right governance and financing in place. This will secure an even stronger future for our people and customers across all the markets we serve.”
White’s decision to step down followed the delivery of the company’s deleveraging programme, in which she led Interserve through the delivery of the group-wide transformation programme and ‘Fit for Growth’ initiative, which delivered material cost savings of £20m in 2018 and improvements in operating margin performance.
Since March 2019, she has worked in partnership with Interserve Group Limited’s new shareholders to strengthen the leadership across the group and ensure it has the right mix of experience across the board and executive team to continue its growth as a privately held company.
Paying tribute, Alan Lovell added: “Debbie leaves Interserve with the greatest respect of the board. In her time here, she has worked tirelessly to turn the business around and has steered the group through a period of unprecedented uncertainty, which included securing a critical refinancing.
“She led the group’s ‘Fit for Growth’ initiative, transforming Interserve into a more agile business, with reduced costs and a more competitive value proposition. On behalf of the board and all at Interserve, I would like to thank her for the huge contribution that she has made through such a critical and challenging period for the business.”
Ms White said: “The past two years at Interserve have been the most demanding of my professional career. As a management team, we fought to deliver a stronger financial platform for the business from which it can move forward.
“Whilst we were ultimately unable to secure sufficient shareholder support for the proposed deleveraging plan, under new ownership, we were able to reduce the group’s debt which alongside the successful delivery of the company wide transformation programme, was critical to securing the future of the group.
“I am grateful for the support of our customers, suppliers and the UK Government during this period. Most importantly, I am grateful to the many fantastic people I have worked alongside at Interserve, and I wish them every success in the future.”
The updated strategy for the three business divisions is outlined below:
Interserve Construction Limited
Interserve Construction Limited will be chaired by Nick Pollard, who has extensive experience in the construction industry and who has served as a non-executive director to the board since June 2018. Paul Gandy who joined Interserve in October this year will continue as the managing director for the construction division.
The construction division’s strategy will focus on delivering best in class infrastructure where it can leverage its strong capabilities in order to create value for clients by delivering on time and to budget across a range of key sectors including healthcare, defence, education, and major framework projects with central government, local authorities, utilities and other private and public sector organisations.
The international construction business will continue to be led by George Franks who will report into Nick Pollard.
The equipment services division, RMD Kwikform, will continue to be led by its chairman Ken Hanna and Ian Hayes as managing director.
The division’s strategy will continue to focus on providing engineering solutions to solve complex problems for its customers, through the application of world-class design and logistics capabilities.
Alongside the UK, RMD Kwikform will continue to focus on its major international markets of Australia, India and UAE.
Support Services will be chaired by Alan Lovell, chairman of Interserve Group Limited. Lynn Mawdsley has been appointed as the managing director of the Support Services business. Lynn previously held the role of deputy chief financial officer and joined Interserve in January 2019 from Sodexo.
The division manages and delivers outsourced operational activities, including facilities management, justice, healthcare and training and employment services, across a range of sectors in both the public and private markets in the UK.