Leighton Holdings has announced the appointment of Bob Humphris as the company’s new Chairman, only a matter of days after erstwhile Chairman Stephen Johns departed with two other non-executive Directors in tow.

Mr Johns walked from the job after citing a major breakdown in relations between the company and its major shareholder, German construction giant Hochtief.

Before departing the position, Mr Johns claimed that the Hochtief had infringed on the operational independence of the Leighton Board.

The Board countered by claiming that independence had been left unchanged, and that the usual relations between the two had remained unchanged and would remain unchanged.

In accepting the appointment, Mr Humpris said it was a privilege to become Chairman of one of the country’s great companies.

“Leighton is in a strong position with real momentum. The Board, the major shareholder and management are all firmly committed to Leighton and are absolutely focused on managing the business in the best interests of all stakeholders,” said Mr Humphris.

“Our immediate priority is to identify and appoint additional independent Directors with the capability to contribute to the further development of Leighton. Ms Dwyer will lead a special committee of the Board to oversee this process,” he said.