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
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
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has been replaced by senior press officer Lisa Cullimore.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
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
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
’The key task is to rebuild our reputation, re-establish customer
confidence and long-term relationships,’ said Wesson.