Under the 12-year leadership of CEO Philip Asherman, Chicago Bridge & Iron grew, as the company points out, from a specialty tank subcontractor to a global energy infrastructure powerhouse. With Asherman's recently announced retirement, he leaves challenges to his successor, Chief Operating Officer Patrick Mullen, that match the scale of CB&I's ambitions.
CB&I's stock price has plummeted to the $16 range from nearly $90 a share three years ago, with first-quarter earnings sustaining a significant hit. While the collapse in energy prices has taken a toll, CB&I also has been dogged, first by the cash drain and now by the uncertainties surrounding its two nuclear power-plant subcontracts with Westinghouse. Problems with a pair of unnamed union construction projects, which further cut first-quarter profits, have not helped.