Crisis-hit Carillion chair lines up new job

Carillion has lost more than 90% of its market value over the past year

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

The chairman of Carillion, the crisis-hit construction and outsourcing group, is being lined up for a new role in the boardroom of Survitec, a British-based manufacturer of survival equipment.

Sky News has learnt that Philip Green, the former boss of United Utilities, is in discussions with Onex, Survitec's Canadian owner, about taking on the chairmanship of the company.

The talks are said to have been delayed as Mr Green focuses on efforts to rescue Carillion, a key player in Britain's infrastructure industry.

The stricken company has lost more than 90% of its value over the last year amid growing doubts about whether it can survive.

Sources said on Monday that Mr Green was close to a deal to replace Simon Withey as Survitec's chairman but had not yet signed an agreement.

A picture of Philip Green taken in 2009
Philip Green

Mr Green is said to be planning to step down as chairman of BakerCorp, an industrial pumping equipment manufacturer owned by the private equity firm Permira, in order to free up time for other roles.

One insider said that his departure from BakerCorp was likely to be announced in the new year.

It was unclear on Monday how shareholders in Carillion would respond to the reshuffling of Mr Green's portfolio of roles, although one investor said he would be expected to make way for a new chairman in due course if the company survives.

Carillion, which is involved in the delivery of major projects such as the HS2 high-speed rail link, has stunned the City with the speed of its descent into the corporate mire.

The company said last month that it expected to breach its loan covenants without additional support from its lenders.

Its pension scheme could be forced to take a stake in the company as part of a debt-for-equity swap that looks increasingly likely.

Carillion also has a major presence in the delivery of road maintenance contracts, rail services and a range of Public Private Partnerships in healthcare and other areas.

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The crisis at the company has caused panic in Whitehall because of the extent of its involvement in the delivery of Government projects.

Mr Green could not be reached for comment.

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