Marcelino Fernández Verdes

11 June 2014 — Leighton Holdings chief executive Marcelino Fernández Verdes has become executive chairman, following the retirement of Bob Humphris today (Wednesday).

Mr Humphris announced his decision to retire as executive chairman and non-executive director at Leighton’s annual general meeting last month, and is effective immediately.

“It has been a privilege to be involved with Leighton for the last nine and a half years and as chairman for the last year,” Mr Humphris said. “However it is now time for me to retire from corporate life and to hand over to a new team.

“I look forward to watching Leighton grow and prosper in the future, building on the professionalism of our staff and, in particular, the Group’s very strong ‘can do’ culture. The Leighton Group is a wonderful contractor and I’m sure that it has a bright future ahead of it.”

Mr Fernández Verdes, who became chief executive in March after forcing out Hamish Tyrwhitt, said he was grateful for Mr Humphris’ near-10-year commitment to Leighton.

“Mr Humphris has made a very important contribution to the Group during his tenure and is highly respected throughout the industry and across Leighton’s operations,” Mr Fernández Verdes said.

However, Mr Humphris had previously told reporters he had been in tears over the appointment of Mr Fernández Verdes, who took Mr Humphries’ position as majority shareholder after German-based, Spanish-owned construction firm Hochief moved to increase its stake in Leighton from 59 per cent to 74 per cent.

Leighton has also appointed two new independent non-executive directors – Russell Chenu and Trevor Gerber.

Mr Chenu will be the chair of both the Audit Committee and Ethics and Compliance Committee. Mr Gerber will be the chairman of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee.

“Mr Chenu brings more than 20 years’ board experience as CFO of five separate ASX listed companies from 1991 to 2013, across a range of industries, which makes him an ideal candidate as the new chairman of our Audit Committee,” Mr Fernández Verdes said.

“Mr Gerber has extensive executive and board experience across the property, funds management, hotels/tourism, infrastructure and aquaculture industries which will be a valuable addition to the Leighton board.”