Read to re-construct PR function at Costain

Beleaguered construction group Costain has poached Graham Read from competitor John Laing to be its new head of public relations.

Beleaguered construction group Costain has poached Graham Read from

competitor John Laing to be its new head of public relations.



The appointment follows the departure of corporate communications chief

Tim Westman last month and a period of financial instability for

Costain.



Read is expected to review all communications functions including the

role of Costain’s financial agency Brunswick.



Read, who will report directly to chief executive John Armitt, has been

briefed to take on a more proactive, public role than his

predecessor.



He joins from his post as group press and PR manager at Laing, where he

has been replaced by senior press officer Lisa Cullimore.



Armitt took up his post as chief executive in April. He was previously

managing director of Union Railways, the subsidiary of London and

Continental responsible for building the high speed rail link to the

Channel Tunnel.



Armitt previously worked with Read when he was managing director of

civil engineering at Laing.



The head of public relations role at Costain will primarily focus on

media relations, but includes managing the internal communications

systems.



Most corporate functions have been paired down to a minimum following

the group’s financial troubles.



Costain’s shares were suspended last November following two profit

warnings and a previous share suspension. Last month the company

underwent its third refinancing in 15 months when Swedish firm Skanska

took a 7.6 per cent share of the firm.



Costain had worked closely with Skanska on a hotel project in

Manchester, and as part of a consortium building a pounds 60 million

prison in Wales.



According to Will Wesson, head of human resources at Costain, Read will

be given the scope to ’grow the function in whatever way he feels is

appropriate’.



’The key task is to rebuild our reputation, re-establish customer

confidence and long-term relationships,’ said Wesson.



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