Arcadis CEO steps down over differences over firm’s direction

Neil McArthur in happier times at Arcadis.

Arcadis has announced that Neil McArthur, chief executive since May 2012, is leaving the company by mutual agreement. The Arcadis supervisory board and McArthur agreed to a separation because of a difference of opinion over Arcadis’ future direction. The board will now start the search for a new chief executive, but Renier Vree, currently Arcadis chief finance officer, will serve as chief executive on an interim basis with immediate effect.

Arcadis has also revealed that it had suffered a challenging third quarter caused by weakness in emerging markets and the sharp fall in Sterling. This saw the firm’s operating income fall 34% to €43m, missing market forecasts. In the UK, which accounts for 17% of the firm’s total revenue, Arcadis suffered a fall in turnover, mainly as a result of a 9% currency effect.

Net revenues grew organically at 3% due to improved growth in infrastructure and water, but buildings revenue declined as a result of Brexit-related delays in clients’ investment decisions. 

Signalling further changes to come at Arcadis, interim chief executive Renier Vree commented: “We will continue to focus on winning work with our clients and cash collection. Furthermore we will step up the pace in aligning our cost structure to the new market realities and simplify the organisation. The strategy process remains ongoing and we will disclose our strategy update at the beginning of 2017.”

Commenting on his decision to step down as chief executive, Neil McArthur said: “I am proud of what we have achieved as a company over the past five years. Together, we have expanded our core business organically and through acquisitions, going from a €2bn 15,000 people organisation in 2012, to a €3.4bn global multinational with 27,000 people under a single global brand, with a collaborative structure and culture. Now it's time for someone else to lead Arcadis through the next stage of our journey. I have no doubt that our people will continue to deliver exceptional and sustainable client solutions, and improve quality of life across the globe.”

Niek Hoek, Chairman of the Arcadis supervisory board, said: “Neil McArthur has provided Arcadis with excellent leadership since he became CEO in 2012. On behalf of the supervisory bard, executive board and all of the Arcadis people, I want to thank Neil for his vision and leadership. Neil and the supervisory board have agreed that it is the right time for a new leader to take Arcadis forward. We will begin a search internally and externally for a new CEO. We are pleased that Renier Vree has accepted the interim CEO role. With Renier's knowledge and experience of Arcadis and its stakeholders, we are confident that he is best positioned to lead the company in the interim.”

Arcadis has honoured its contractual obligations with McArthur, who will receive a year’s salary of €630,000 as part of the agreement to step down.

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