CRH names new chief executive
Albert Manifold (right), who was widely regarded as the leading contender to replace the retiring Myles Lee (left) at the helm of CRH, will take over as chief executive on January 1st. Photograph: Shane O’Neill / Fennell Photography
Albert Manifold, who was widely regarded as the leading contender to replace the retiring Myles Lee at the helm of the €11 billion building materials giant, will take over as chief executive on January 1st.
The Irish Times understands that the chief operating officer role, which was created for Manifold in 2009 at the same time that Lee ascended to the top job, has been put under review.
Mr Lee, a former finance director, is retiring after 32 years with CRH. He indicated to the board last February that he was set to retire, and a London-based global headhunting firm was brought in to to advise on his replacement.
But while a number of external candidates were looked at, CRH has a long-standing tradition of promoting its top executives from within. Mark Towe, the head of CRH’s US business, was seen as Mr Manifold’s main opposition for the chief executive role.
Mr Manifold joined the company in 1998, following a stint as chief operating officer at a private equity firm called Alan Maguire & Partners.
He went on to run CRH’s European materials division and was also group development director.
During the global slowdown that followed the subprime crisis, as CRH’s core American and European markets suffered heavily, Mr Manifold spearheaded a push into developing markets, such as Asia. The company is still a long way behind its peers in developing markets, however.
Earlier this year, Merrion stockbrokers noted that it gets just 13 per cent of its profits from developing markets, compared to an average of 50 per cent against its peers. It is expected that Mr Manifold will accelerate its expansion into new markets.
“Albert brings to his new role a deep knowledge of the industry and proven international experience. As chief executive, he will continue to develop and drive CRH’s strategic agenda,” said Nicky Hartery, the chairman.