John Hartnett, operations director at Eric Wright Construction, has been promoted to managing director, and will take the reins from John Wilson, who retires at Christmas after 24 years in the firm.
Hartnett has worked at contractor Eric Wright for more than five years, working his way up the ranks from project manager, to operations manager then operations director from 2018. He was previously a senior construction manager at Lend Lease and before that worked for BAM Construct UK for six years as a site manager.
Also under the management changes announced this week, Phil Brown, the group’s senior commercial manager, joins the board of directors as surveying director.
Eric Wright Group managing director Jeremy Hartley said: “John Wilson has done an excellent job leading the construction business through some extremely challenging times, not least the well-publicised challenges faced by the industry this year with Brexit and Covid. It is a situation no one could have begun to envisage.
“With a change of leadership under John Hartnett, and Phil’s appointment further strengthening the board, we’re taking the opportunity to respond to a changed world and reshape the business to ensure it remains resilient and futureproofed to meet the continuing operational and commercial challenges that face the sector.”
Eric Wright Construction has delivered more than £60m of key projects on time or ahead of schedule in 2020 – “a remarkable achievement despite the issues the year has thrown at us”, Hartley said.
He added: “John’s decision to retire is part of a planned succession programme and we are extremely grateful to him that he delayed his departure to the end of the year to support his team through the disruption of Covid.
“We would all like to thank him for his dedication to the business over the years and his agreement to stay on to ensure a smooth transition for our clients.”
Hartnett said: “We have in place a resilient and robust business structure that will take Eric Wright Construction through the next stage of its evolution.
“The sector as a whole has endured extremely tough times in recent years but we continue to benefit from the diversity of the group working across a wide variety of sectors including health, residential, commercial, industrial and education and being part of a wider group which gives us significant financial strength.”
Eric Wright Construction is currently to build the £30m Gateway Atelier scheme in Salford for Muse and a £12m sports science project for Manchester Metropolitan University.
This year, it completed £45m of development work for housing provider Manchester Life and three new schools for the Department for Education, in Blackpool, Droyslden and Preston.