The Courier-Mail

Inquiry into misconduct claims

- LIAM WALSH

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.

“The

(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.

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