Gone: Ex-Leighton boss David Stewart outside his home the day after resigning from Laing O'Rourke. Photo: Louie Douvis
The bribery scandal engulfing Leighton Holdings has claimed its first two scalps, with former top executives David Stewart and David Savage losing their positions at British construction and engineering companies governed by tougher anti-corruption laws.
A third former Leighton executive alleged to have known about kickbacks to secure contracts, Russell Waugh, who is now a senior executive at UGL, was in talks on Tuesday with UGL chairman Trevor Rowe and chief executive Richard Leupen.
Mr Rowe and Mr Leupen were considering whether Mr Waugh should remain head of UGL's engineering business, sources told the Australian Financial Review.
David Savage, former COO of Leighton Holdings.
Just last month UGL tapped Mr Waugh as the best person to lead the company's $2.3 billion engineering arm ahead of a planned split from the contractor's property arm next year.
Former Leighton chief executive David Stewart resigned as chief executive of UK contractor Laing O'Rourke's Australian business on Tuesday.
David Savage, Leighton's former chief operating officer, stepped down from the board of UK engineering group Keller plc over the weekend. He was a non-executive director since August 2011.
Mr Stewart, who was a member of the UK contractor's global executive committee, resigned following conversations with Laing O'Rourke's global CEO, Ray O'Rourke, over the weekend.
Approached at his house on Sydney's North Shore yesterday afternoon, Mr Stewart declined to comment but agreed to be photographed.
Leighton chairman Bob Humphris, who was on the board of Leighton International when the alleged corruption occurred, does not intend to step down from the main Leighton board. He took over as chairman from Stephen Johns this year.
"Bob doesn't feel he has done anything wrong," said one person close to Mr Humphris.
Fairfax Media revealed last week the existence of a memo written by Mr Stewart in November 2010 when he was employed by Leighton. It said Mr Savage, then Leighton International's director, and former CEO Wal King, knew a $42 million kickback was paid to a company in Monaco nominated by Iraqi officials who selected Leighton for a $750 million oil pipeline contract.
Leighton has taken no action against any of its current employees or board members following the bribery reports despite a 16 per cent fall in its share price since the allegations were first reported on Thursday.