Gas firm has first profits in pipeline

Martin Donnachie CEO of Fulcrum
Martin Donnachie CEO of Fulcrum
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A Sheffield utilities firm which had never made a profit is up for four industry awards after a radical shake up by the new boss - which included shedding half the workforce.

Chief executive Martin Donnachie put Fulcrum through “two or three” rounds of cuts after arriving two years ago, and the headcount fell from 230 to 115.

But as part of a wholesale “reshaping” he brought 100 outsourced managers back in house, to give the firm more control over services. And he launched a £100,000 leadership training programme for 60 people.

Now, Fulcrum is on track to announce its first full-year profits and has been shortlisted in four categories in the gas industry’s awards.

High profile jobs include gas connections to the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome in Glasgow, the 16-mile Speyside gas pipeline and the 40-storey Heron Tower in the City of London.

Martin Donnachie said: “The reason I came here is because I could see a business with a lot of potential. Being shortlisted endorses the significant transformation we have delivered.

“Too often people are thrown into leadership roles and aren’t given appropriate structured training.

“If they’re lucky they have an inspiring line manager but all too often it’s hit or miss.

“Some people might think it’s brave to do that but I wanted to invest in senior people at a time of significant change with tough things to deal with who needed to think in different ways.

“That’s even more important going forward.”

At the Gas Industry Awards, the firm is up for Company of the Year, the Leadership Award, Manager of the Year and Young Person’s Achievement.

Fulcrum was the connections arm of British Gas before being moved to National Grid. It was sold as a loss-making operation to investors in July 2010 who brought in a new management team. The firm also floated on the stock market, raising £11m.

But despite cost cutting Martin Donnachie says he arrived to find an “inefficient” business and “urgent” cuts were needed.