A NEW chairman has been appointed to lead York construction giant Shepherd Group and its 3,200 staff as the firm heads towards its 125th anniversary.

After joining the Shepherd Group board of directors in March as part of a succession planning move in light of the departing chairman Alan Fletcher, David Williams has been formally appointed as the new leader of the board.

Mr Williams follows Mr Fletcher's 13 year chairmanship, which after coming to an end will see Mr Fletcher remain on the group board as a non-executive director, however he said he will not stand for re-election at the Annual General Meeting in October and will leave the group at that time.

Mr Fletcher joined the Shepherd board in 1994 and was appointed deputy chairman two years later, becoming chairman in 2001.

Deputy chairman Patrick Shepherd paid tribute to Alan Fletcher’s contribution to the Group’s success. He said: "Shepherd Group has made significant progress over the past two decades thanks to Alan’s vision and sound judgment.

"His inspirational leadership leaves a strong legacy. I would like to thank him for his unstinting dedication in ensuring a bright outlook for the group."

Mr Fletcher said: "I am proud to have played a part in Shepherd Group’s development over the past 20 years and in helping to secure its future success with the appointment of David Williams.

"I know I will be passing the baton to a safe pair of hands; David has a wealth of experience in relevant sectors and has quickly won the respect and confidence of colleagues.

"It has been a privilege to lead a business with an acknowledged reputation for quality and integrity and which consistently demonstrates excellence in its people, its products and its services. I wish everyone at the company well for the future."

Huntington-based Shepherd Group was founded in the city in 1890 and incorporates three divisions; Portakabin Group, Shepherd Group Built Environment and Shepherd Group Engineering.

The group's new chairman Mr Williams began his career with the British Ship Research Association as a naval architect, before gaining experience of engineering and construction with WS Atkins and Taylor Woodrow.

Internationally he has been chief executive at Serimax SAS of France and at Logstor AS of Denmark, and is currently chairman of Frog Capital, a family business investment vehicle based in London and Ramco Services, which services the oil industry and is based in Aberdeen.