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Michelle Kernahan to leave Fletcher Building

By Jenny Ruth

May 7 (BusinessDesk) - Fletcher Building’s Michelle Kernahan is leaving the company at the end of July for a "new career challenge.”

The company’s statement doesn’t say what her new position will be. BusinessDesk understands it will be announced later today.

Kernahan’s appointment as chief executive of Fletcher’s building products division was announced in July last year although she didn’t start in that role until November when former KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy took over the construction division Kernahan had been managing since March 2017.

Her appointment to head the building products division had all the hallmarks of a promotion given chief executive Ross Taylor had identified that division as a core business.

It hasn’t been plain sailing at the building products division though. In February, Fletcher reported the division’s operating profit had fallen 10 percent in the six months ended December.

Kernahan’s stint heading the construction division can only be described as tumultuous because her appointment came just as Fletcher was beginning to reveal that division was in trouble, although it remained in denial about the extent of the losses.

Those losses, nearly $1 billion over 18 months, had been the result of unfavourable contracts the construction division had signed that put all the risks on Fletcher, rather than on the client, which in many cases was the government.

Fletcher also announced today that its chief information officer, John Bell, is retiring and plans to leave the company in the second half of 2019.

“Michelle and John have been valued members of Fletcher Building’s executive team and I want to thank them for their commitment and leadership. I wish them all the best as they leave the company,” Taylor says in a statement.



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