New chief installed at CRH as strategic review looms
Albert Manifold has formally assumed the role of chief executive at CRH, Ireland's biggest company. He succeeds Myles Lee, who announced his retirement last year.
CRH chairman Nicky Hartery said Mr Lee had made an "outstanding contribution" to the group during his 32 years with the firm. Mr Lee, who hails from Schull, Co Cork, was CEO for five years, having succeeded Liam O'Mahony. Prior to that he was chief financial officer for five years.
"As Albert takes up the role of chief executive, we look forward to CRH progressing its next phase of development," said Mr Hartery.
From Wicklow, Mr Manifold (51) joined CRH in 1998 after working with a private equity group and has served in a number of roles within the company.
Previously chief operations officer at CRH, he is currently steering a major review of the company's global operations.
The review, announced in November, will probably result in the disposal of non-core businesses and in the group investment strategy being revamped.
Since 2007, CRH has disposed of €2bn worth of assets. In 2010, it sold its European insulation business to Cavan-based Kingspan for €120m. The same year it sold virtually all its interest in a US wire products firm for about €37m.
In the first nine months of 2013 CRH incurred acquisition and investment expenditure of €660m, about 25pc of which was made in regions such as Ukraine, India and China.
CRH, which has a near €14bn market capitalisation, said the current review will "identify and focus on" the businesses which offer the most attractive future returns for its shareholders and assist in prioritising capital allocation.
Mr Manifold has previously said that CRH is determining where growth opportunities over the next decade lie. He has said the review is wide and comprehensive and will result in more than incremental change.
The outcome of the review is expected to be made public next month. It will be early summer before CRH will reveal the businesses it will exit.
The group holds its annual general meeting on May 7, and releases an interim management statement the same day. It releases full-year results for 2013 next month.
Bank of America upgraded CRH's stock last month, citing better prospects for the group in the United States, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The institution is also betting that Mr Manifold will be able to drive further restructuring at the group.
Shares in CRH were trading 1.8pc higher mid-afternoon yesterday in Dublin.
The company has its primary listing in London. The stock has risen about 21pc over the past year.