Cardno chief steps down after 'just' 10 months

Michael Renshaw, outgoing chief executive at Cardno. Photo by: Cardno

Michael Renshaw announced that he will be leaving his post as Cardno’s chief executive, after only 10 months on the job — a “shocking” move that could lead to a tumultuous transition and disruptions in the company’s worldwide operations.

Cardno, considered one of the world’s largest development contractors and environmental and infrastructure consultancy firms, said in a statement that the 43-year-old former international division executive general manager of the company “has resigned and will step down from his role immediately.”

For legal reasons, Cardno Chairman John Marlay told Devex the company’s board — or even Renshaw — cannot talk about the “mutually agreed” decision.

“There is a confidentiality clause in the deed of separation that precludes either party discussing the background details of his resignation,” he disclosed.

Renshaw’s appointment as Cardno’s chief executive in March last year was met with anticipation and optimism, given the knowledge and expertise that he has gained working in the organization for 11 years. A week after his appointment, he shared in an exclusive interview with Devex his grand plan to turn Cardno into a bridge between the development community and the private sector — a plan that’s now up in the air given his premature departure.

There is speculation within the Australian business and development community that Renshaw’s resignation is linked to the company’s decision in November to declare a “profit warning” — a statement that the company’s earnings may be lower than expected — which may have an impact in the company’s operations, particularly in delivering development programs and contracts. But Marlay was quick to point out that the 43-year-old’s “departure was not related to the … profit guidance.”

Marlay said the Cardno board has appointed Graham Yerbury, the company’s chief financial officer, as interim CEO “to continue the delivery of the existing business strategies.” Meanwhile, a global search for a new head begins — a “robust process” that might take between three and six months.

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About the author

  • Lean Alfred Santos

    Lean Alfred Santos is a former Devex development reporter focusing on the development community in Asia-Pacific, including major players such as the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He previously covered Philippine and international business and economic news, sports and politics.

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