May 7, 2019 / 6:56 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Kier Group finance director Bev Dew to step down

(Adds background, details on debt)

May 7 (Reuters) - Kier Group Plc said on Tuesday Bev Dew will step down as finance director, weeks after its new CEO launched a review to cut debt and simplify its structure, as the British construction company tries to navigate problems plaguing the sector.

The company, which builds and maintains highways, railway tunnels and houses, said Dew would leave the company by Sept. 30 after over four years in the role and that the search for a successor has started.

Dew’s departure comes less than two months after Kier appointed former Carillion CEO-designate Andrew Davies as its top boss after many of the company’s shareholders snubbed a new issue of stock.

Growing pessimism among bankers, who were cutting exposure to the industry after the collapse of Carillion, hit Kier’s share issue plan.

Britain’s construction industry has been under pressure particularly since the collapse of Carillion, which forced regulators to tighten rules for private companies operating in the public sector.

The failure in March of Interserve, a provider of public services from cleaning schools to building bridges, further highlighted problems in the sector.

Kier, which has contracts for major construction projects including London’s Crossrail rail link, had reported debt at the end of 2018 of 180.5 million pounds, down from 624 million when it announced the share sale last year. (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar and Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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