Norwich-based firm May Gurney announces departure of chief executive Philip Fellowes-Prynne

The chief executive of Norfolk-based May Gurney has left the company with immediate effect the firm said today.

In a trading update, the company said that Philip Fellowes-Prynne had left the company, whose headquarters is in Trowse, near Norwich, by mutual consent.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Willie MacDiarmid, currently, a non-executive director of the group, while the search for a new chief executive takes place.

In April Mr Fellowes-Prynne said in an interview with the EDP that the next 12 months would be one of consolidation for the group as it beds in acquisitions including Turriff Group, the Scottish utility infrastructure maintenance company, and vehicle supplier company TransLinc.

And he revealed ambitious plans to double the group's turnover to �1bn a year as well as increasing its profit margins to more than 5pc.

Today's announcement came as May Gurney said that it was facing 'serious operational issues' with two long-term MaGos contracts and the planned run-down of its facility services division.

'These factors, combined with the on-going difficulties within our Scottish Utilities business, have led the board to the conclusion that the group will significantly under-perform its original expectations for the current year,' the firm said in the statement.

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'In taking this action today, the Board has moved swiftly to deal with the specific operational problems that have emerged over the last few months. We are fortunate to have secured the services of Willie MacDiarmid to lead the business on an interim basis. His depth of operational experience will be invaluable over the next period as we move to secure a permanent CEO.'