Fletcher Building has picked up KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy to head the company's construction division, which oversees the problematic Buildings + Interiors unit.
The Auckland-based company will move current construction head Michele Kernahan to lead its building products unit as part of the move, with Reidy joining in early November. Fletcher's acting head of building products, David Thomas, will shift back to general manager of Winston Wallboards.
"We remain focused on stabilising our construction division, and in particular, increasing our focus on lower-risk, more profitable sectors such as infrastructure and roading," group chief executive Ross Taylor said in a statement. "Peter has a strong track record of leading infrastructure businesses, including in his current role at KiwiRail and previously as chief operating officer infrastructure services with Downer Group in Australia."
Fletcher is restructuring its businesses under new CEO Taylor, which includes getting the construction unit on an even footing after it took on a number of unprofitable projects in its B+I business. From this month, Fletcher restructured into seven divisions from its previous five, including a standalone Australia unit which could grow over the next five years to equal or exceed the size of Fletcher's New Zealand operations. Fletcher is also selling its Formica and Roof Tile businesses.
Reidy will end a four-year term in charge of the state-owned enterprise and has been working closely with the new administration on how to best fund the company in an environment where rail has been included in the national land transport plan for the first time and is seen as an integral part of a countrywide strategy.
KiwiRail's board said it has immediately started a search for a new CEO.
Fletcher shares last traded at $7.01 and have climbed 27 percent from a trough in early April.