September 30, 2010 / 10:34 AM / in 7 years

UPDATE 2-Rok names new FD, predecessor cleared in probe

* Sean Cummins to join as finance director from Scott Wilson

* Ashley Martin resigns after Rok lifts suspension

* Martin not linked to any malpractice or wrong doing at PHE

* Rok says regrets if Martin’s “good reputation” damaged

* Expects to meet trading expectations, shares up 11 percent

(Adds comments from ex FD Ashley Martin)

By Golnar Motevalli

LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - British maintenance and building firm Rok ROK.L named Sean Cummins as finance director on Thursday to replace Ashley Martin, who resigned after being cleared in an investigation into problems at a troubled unit.

Cummins joins from British design and engineering consultancy Scott Wilson, where he was also finance director and which is being taken over by U.S. group URS Corp URS.N.

Rok said on Thursday it regretted any damage to the reputation of Martin, who was suspended in August after Rok warned of “serious failings” in its plumbing, heating and electrical (PHE) unit, sending shares plummeting by 50 percent.

Rok, which provides maintenance for social housing, said a review of the ex-Avonside PHE business found problems “were due to a scaling back of sub-contracting work from the private housing sector and a combination of weak operational, commercial and financial controls within that part of the business”.

Shares in the company, which said it had resolved these issues and was confident of meeting analysts’ full-year expectations, were up 11.3 percent to 17.45 pence at 1210 GMT.

Rok said it had reinstated Martin “immediately and without reservation” but that he had decided to resign as a director “immediately and would leave the business after a short handover period”.

“The board wishes to emphasise that Ashley has never been accused of wrongdoing nor have our investigations revealed any evidence of malpractice,” Rok said.


In an interview Martin said the past two months had been “the most terrifying of my life”. He said Rok had compensated him with his contractual entitlements and he was planning to take a break and spend time with his family.

“I‘m relieved my reputation has been properly restored, I’ve got a very strong apology,” Martin told Reuters, adding that after his break he would like to return to the finance sector.

Martin said he had informed the company about the problems at the PHE unit but declined to comment on whether there were any wider difficulties at Rok affecting its other businesses.

“I have every reason to think there are problems that they’re addressing, I’ve no reason to think that’s something that they cannot address,” Martin said. (Reporting by Golnar Motevalli; Editing by Mark Potter, Mike Nesbit)

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