The move came in the same week when housebuilder MJ Gleeson wrote down assets and earmarked cash for impending redundancies. The bill for these costs will top £11m.
MJ Gleeson’s retreat includes re-locating its head office from Fleet to Sheffield. The group also recorded losses of £20m at year end June 2008.
Mr Horton took charge of the m&e contractor Powerminster in September 2004. Then a loss-making business, he led it to three consecutive years of increased net profit. Its audited results to June 2008 showed profits rising 57 per cent to £1.1m with a forward order book worth £150m.
Press reports have suggested he resigned from Powerminster because of a disagreement with the MJ Gleeson chief executive Paul Wallwork. Mr Horton declined to comment on the alleged bust-up and said he was focused on building a strategy for Skerritt to weather what is set to be a tough 18 months for the industry.
“I’ll be looking to repeat what was a successful formula at Powerminster, which is to focus on customer relationships and winning repeat business. I also want to build on our maintenance offering,” he said.
“Skerritt is dedicated to m&e and not part of a group with a core business elsewhere. It is also privately owned so we should be able to drive decisions forward quickly.”
Turnover for Skerritt, which specialises in a number of sectors such as prisons, will be in excess of £50m this calendar year.
Skerritt’s previous managing director, Stuart Hill, left the Nottingham-based firm in September.