Kvaerner axes UK comms in global cost-cutting bid

Anglo-Norwegian engineering and construction group Kvaerner has axed its UK comms team as part of cost-cutting measures.

The decision - effective from the end of this week - spells the end of an 18-year association with the firm, and former British blue-chip giant Trafalgar House, which Kvaerner bought in 1996, for London-based V-P of group comms Paul Emberley.

The comms team cutbacks are in line with the company's overall downsizing, which has seen its total global workforce fall by almost half, from around 82,000 in 1996 to 42,500 today.

In 1996, Kvaerner bought Trafalgar, an acquisition that created a group with more than 800 individual businesses. Many of these have since been sold off.

Emberley, who is now on the hunt for a new job, said: 'Eighteen years is quite long enough. The major challenges came after the acquisition in 1996. I think the firm was too slow to shed the businesses it didn't want to keep. It took the management more than three years to decide what it wanted the firm to be.'

'I have had to deal with everything from change management, turning a very British brand into an international brand, to crisis communications,' he added.

Emberley joined Trafalgar in 1984 as PR manager in its construction division.

He moved through various comms roles before being appointed group corporate comms director in 1994.

When Kvaerner bought Trafalgar, Emberley was appointed to the role he has held until this week.

Kvaerner - which has used Burson-Marsteller for various project work in the past five years - now has around 12 comms staff, down from around 20 in the years immediately after the Trafalgar deal. Around half of these comms staff are based in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

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