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Interserve CEO Debbie White to step down as company announces major restructure

Alan Lovell, chairman of Interserve Group Limited.

Interserve’s CEO Debbie White is leaving the company and will not be replaced, as the company is being restructured into three separate businesses. 

White will step down as CEO on 31 December, having already outlined her intention to leave the company in March 2019, and the latest restructure follows a strategic review led by Alan Lovell, who was appointed as chairman of Interserve Group Limited in July 2019.

The restructure follows a turbulent time for Interserve, a multinational group of support services and construction companies based in the UK, with a revenue of £2.7bn in 2018 and a workforce of 68,000 people worldwide. 

Financial difficulties forced the company to restructure and refinance in March 2018. Its financial situation worsened in late 2018, and debt holders discussed a further financial restructuring of the business. The debt-for-equity plan was rejected at an annual general meeting on 15 March 2019 and the parent company went into administration owing creditors over £100m. In a pre-pack deal, the rest of the group was immediately sold to a newly incorporated company owned by lenders, Interserve Group Ltd.

Under the newly announced structure, each of the three business will be led by a chairman and managing director, and the chairman of each business will sit on the Interserve Group Limited board. 

The three businesses are:

Interserve Construction Limited: Chaired by Nick Pollard, 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 International Construction business will continue to be led by George Franks, who will report into Nick Pollard. 

Equipment Services: RMD Kwikform will continue to be led by its chairman Ken Hanna, with Ian Hayes as managing director. 

Support Services: Chaired by Alan Lovell, chairman of Interserve Group Limited. Lynn Mawdsley has been appointed as managing director of the support services business. 

Alan Lovell, chairman of Interserve Group Limited, paid tribute to outgoing CEO Debbie White, and said: “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. 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.”

Looking positively to the future, Lovell said: “Since joining Interserve 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, CEO of Interserve Group Limited 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.”