Why Fluor’s CEO Had to Go: He Oversaw $1 Billion in Write-offs in Three Years

An overnight failure, like success, can be years in the making.That’s one way to think about last week’s sudden departure of David Seaton, chairman and CEO of Fluor Corp., a large engineering and construction company in Irving. Along with the executive change, Fluor reported a first quarter loss after analysts had projected strong profits, and all the news led to a 24% drop in Fluor’s stock price.Seaton, who’s 57, joined Fluor 34 years ago and had been leading the company since 2011. So what happened? In short, poor execution -- years of it.Cost overruns and bad estimates have been building since 2016, and in the past three years, Fluor has taken 18 quarterly write-offs totaling more than $1 billion. Those problems helped wipe out two-thirds of Fluor’s market value since May 2014.The latest pretax charges, just reported for the first quarter of 2019, included write-offs for an offshore energy project, a gas plant and the close-out of another major project.  Continue reading...

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