Aegis looks to new directors to restore confidence

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The Independent Online
AEGIS Group, the struggling media buyer, has appointed two respected City figures to its board to rebuild shareholder confidence.

The company yesterday said Sir Kit McMahon, former chairman of Midland Bank and ex-deputy governor of the Bank of England, and Sir Peter Thompson, former chairman of NFC, the transport group, were joining as non-executive directors, boosting the total number of its outside directors to six.

The move is part of a new management strategy after a boardroom coup led to the resignation of Peter Scott as chairman and chief executive last June. Mr Scott received a pounds 2.2m pay-off.

Next week Aegis is likely to disclose about pounds 50m in write-offs. As a result, taxable profits are expected to collapse from pounds 55m in 1991 to barely break-even last year.

The company was forced into a pounds 20m refinancing last autumn. It relocated its head offices from London to Paris and cancelled its French and New York listing.

In addition, it has been severely hit by the shake-up of France's media- buying industry. Aegis also incurred an pounds 8m charge in an unsuccessful US legal battle over a sports sponsorship company.

The shares, which rose 2p to 19p yesterday, peaked at about 240p two years ago.

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