Balfour chief steps down as profits get back on track

Mike Welton announced his retirement as the chief executive of Balfour Beatty yesterday as the engineering and construction company reported a 33 per cent jump in profits.

Mike Welton announced his retirement as the chief executive of Balfour Beatty yesterday as the engineering and construction company reported a 33 per cent jump in profits.

The scale of the profits increase, which far exceeded City expectations, was due to the company settling terms with Network Rail over the termination of rail maintenance contracts. Analysts had forecast that Balfour Beatty would report interim underlying pre-tax profits of £58m, up from £51m last year. In the event, the company reported a £68m profit figure though it declined to detail exactly how much had been received from Network Rail.

Mr Welton, 58, is to step down at the end of this year. He will be succeeded by Ian Tyler, 44, the company's former finance director who was made chief operating officer two years ago and groomed for the top job.

Sir David John, the chairman of Balfour Beatty, said: "The company has made enormous progress since Mike Welton became chief executive in 1996. It has been transformed from a traditional contracting organisation, with sales of £1.7bn, to a broad-based engineering, construction and services company with projected sales of close to £4.5bn."

Under Mr Welton, Balfour Beatty became an independently listed company and expanded its activities.

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