Inquiry into misconduct claims
MISCONDUCT allegations have hit Brisbane-based infrastructure specialist Seymour Whyte.
The company has launched an investigation, hiring an outside expert to look into the claims of misconduct and breaches of company policy.
Seymour Whyte refused to comment on the nature of the investigation or confirm industry rumours abounding about the type of allegations.
Started in 1987 by two friends, stockmarket-listed Seymour Whyte now employs almost 350 staff and has projects from a ring road in Townsville to airports in NSW. It just posted a full-year profit of $10 million, down 8.9 per cent, which it dubbed a “solid result” in a “challenging year for the engineering and construction industry”.
No mention was made of the allegations in the accounts or in stockmarket notices.
But Seymour Whyte, whose values include “we act with integrity, always upholding our reputation”, argued it kept the market informed of material issues.
(allegations) matter has not impacted on the company’s financial performance … we remain focused on delivering on our projects for our clients,” Seymour Whyte said in response to The CourierMail’s queries.
“The board and senior management team … in conjunction with a third-party expert, have been undertaking a comprehensive investigation into allegations of misconduct and breaches of company policy.
“Seymour Whyte has taken action in relation to a small number of individuals who were identified through the investigation.”
The company refused to specify who or how many people were involved or the action.
A “comprehensive” review of its code of conduct and employee induction had occurred.
Seymour Whyte has been shaken by instability this year with the sudden resignation in May of former chief executive officer David McAdam, after what is thought to be a split with the board.
There is no suggestion Mr McAdam was aware of or involved in the allegations.
Industry rumours suggest the matter turned up during a review initiated by interim chief executive David Wilson, which Seymour declined to confirm. Asked if police were involved, Seymour said the matter was “internal”.
John Kirkwood, a senior executive with Leighton Contractors, was appointed Seymour Whyte chief executive in July and will take up the role in October.
Shares in Seymour Whyte have traded between $1.88 and 97 in the past 12 months.
They closed steady at $1.35 yesterday.