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British builder Kier's top boss to step down

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Kier Group Chief Executive Haydn Mursell is leaving the British builder with immediate effect, a month after a lacklustre share issue by the company highlighted tough times for the construction sector.

Kier, which has contracts for major construction projects in Britain, including London's Crossrail link, said Chairman Philip Cox would act as executive chairman until a new top boss was appointed.

"The Board believes that, following the completion of the recent rights issue, now is the right time for a new leader to take Kier forward to the next stage of its development," Cox said in a statement.

Other outsourcing companies have also showed signs of strain. Interserve shares fell sharply last month after the support services group started rescue talks in a bid to avoid a Carillion-style collapse.

Carillion collapsed early last year when its banks pulled the plug, triggering one of Britain's biggest corporate failures in a decade and adding to uncertainty about the future of a sector that has tended to chase large contracts on slim margins.

Kier said it had started the search for an external successor to Mursell.

The company also said it would meet its expectations for the financial year ending June 30, with results being weighted towards the second half of the financial year.


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