Gainsborough founder joins construction giant

Gainsborough Communications co-founder Duncan Murray is set to take a senior role at UK construction firm Balfour Beatty.

Duncan Murray (left) and Andy Cornelius
Duncan Murray (left) and Andy Cornelius

Murray joins as deputy director of corporate comms, working under Tim Sharp, the corporate comms director. The move is seen as a succession plan, with Murray eventually taking Sharp's role. Sharp has been with the firm for more than 20 years.

Murray was most recently at College Hill, where he has been seeing out his notice after resigning late last year (PRWeek, 18 October 2007).

He has worked with the FTSE 250 firm Balfour Beatty in the past, advising it while at Gainsborough Communications.

The agency won the brief in 2004, before Murray and Gainsborough co-founder Andy Cornelius both joined College Hill (PRWeek, 2 February 2007).

Murray and Cornelius did not last long at College Hill, each announcing their departure within six months. At the time College Hill founder Alex Sandberg described their move as a 'good idea that didn't work out'. Cornelius has yet to resurface.

Balfour Beatty is the second largest UK construction company and recorded before tax profits last year of £157m. It is rarely out of the business pages, making headlines last month for its purchase of civil engineering firm Dean & Dyball for £45m.

Balfour Beatty said the acquisition would provide a 'strong' presence in civil engineering markets in the southern half of England and in Wales. This was in line with its strategy of expanding its regional presence in the UK.

During Sharp's tenure Balfour Beatty admitted breaching safety before the Hatfield train disaster. It was cleared of the corporate manslaughter charge, but pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety Act.

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