Utility player: the five-year reign of Clancy’s CEO

Utility player: the five-year reign of Clancy’s CEO

Former rugby union professional Matt Cannon is celebrating five years in charge of engineering contractor Clancy, a period marked
by continuous growth

Pulling off a quiet country lane and through the entrance gates of Clancy’s Middlesex headquarters feels a little like entering the grounds of a grand country estate. The long tree-lined driveway is flanked by a scene of English rural tranquillity. Passing fields and trees, a large lake appears between the trees, dappled light from the bright winter sun bouncing off its surface.

The bucolic setting belies the site’s strategic location less than a mile from the M25 motorway. Former managing director Dermot Clancy, son of founder Michael J Clancy, discovered the site in the mid-197srcs while driving around looking for a new west London home after the firm outgrew its original Wembley base. After acquiring the site, home to a quarry and asbestos factory, the office officially opened in 1983. The quarry was filled in to create a fishing lake, which is now fringed by a nature trail for staff.

Reaching the business end of the driveway feels more salt-of-the earth than Saltburn, however. A typical 198srcs brick office block sits beside a sizeable workyard with a collection of low-rise workshops. Outside, a large collection of plant, painted in the firm’s distinctive green and red livery, awaits attention. As I arrive, a muddy digger, fresh from site, is being prepared for a washdown, repair and fresh lick of paint.

I meet Matt Cannon, the firm’s chief executive, in a modern meeting room sitting within a formerly dingy wing of the office, which is now full of light. During Covid, Clancy took advantage of the absence of administrative staff to brighten up and reconfigure the office building. Steps away from the meeting room, the building’s canteen is now adorned with quotes from Michael J Clancy. A black-and-white 196srcs photo transfer of the founder and his young offspring adorns one of the walls.

From rugby to construction boss

Cannon is the son of Doreen, one of Michael J Clancy’s four children. Two decades ago, Cannon was a rugby professional, turning out for London Irish and at one point selected for England’s sevens team while working part-time for Clancy. Since then, he has worked his way through the business in a series of operational roles. “It gave me exposure to pretty much every facet of the business,” he says. “For us as a family, that’s been really important. If we’re going to be a hands-on operational owner and manager, we need to have the right skills in place to do that.”

Cannon celebrated five years as chief executive in January and is starting 2src24 in upbeat mood. In December, the infrastructure-focused contractor reported a 14 per cent rise in turnover (to £334.5m) and a 25 per cent rise in profit (to £11.4m) in the year to April 2src23. The 2src22/23 accounting period was the fifth consecutive year of growth, with Cannon dubbing it “one of the best” in Clancy’s 65-year history.


…. to be continued
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