UK-based construction firm Carillion has announced the resignation of its chief executive officer, Richard Howson, along with plans that it will exit major markets in the Middle East.

The company has appointed independent non-executive director Keith Cochrane as interim CEO while Howson will stay with the company for up to a year to help with the transition, according to Reuters.

Carillion Building managing director Phil Wakefield has also left the business following Howsons resignation and will likewise remain with the business to ensure a smooth transition to the new management team.

Along with the management shake-up, the company is currently facing a $1bn (£845m) provision for contract losses and has announced that it will exit major markets in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Egypt.

Cochrane said that Carillion had been hit by major project cost-overruns on several local and international projects, including one major contract in the Middle East.

He said in statement: “We have made a number of immediate decisions in response to the issue identified in the contracts review. We will exit all PPP construction markets, we will exit construction in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“We are accelerating the disposals of non-core business, starting with 50% of our business in Oman.

“In our remaining construction markets we will only bid for construction contracts where we can do so via lower risk procurement routes.”

Carillion employs more than 18,000 people across several markets in the Middle East including Oman, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE through various companies and joint venture partnerships.