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Leighton Says David Stewart to Succeed King as CEO

Leighton Holdings Ltd., Australia’s biggest construction company, said David Stewart will succeed Wal King, 66, as chief executive officer.

Stewart, 57, currently Leighton’s chief operating officer, will take up the position from Jan. 1, completing a succession process that began two years ago, the company said in a statement to the Australian stock exchange today.

“David brings a comprehensive knowledge of the business, a wealth of contracting experience and a disciplined ‘can do’ attitude that is central to Leighton’s culture,” David Mortimer, the company’s chairman, said in the statement.

Leighton said last month it’s targeting profit of A$900 million ($837 million) within five years on A$30 billion of revenue, as it announced net income surged 39 percent in the 12 months to June 30 to a record A$612 million. Work in hand for the company, controlled by Germany’s Hochtief AG, reached a record A$41.5 billion as it won infrastructure and mining contracts in Australia and Asia.

King, who was chief executive officer and managing director at Sydney-based Leighton for 23 years, will stay on as a consultant, the company said. Stewart’s bonus package as chief executive officer is still being worked out.

Leighton shares added 2.9 percent to A$34.34 at the 4:10 p.m. market close in Sydney trading, paring this year’s drop to 9.9 percent.

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