Attallah loses battle at Asprey

Naim Attallah, the ebullient boss of Asprey, lost his battle against City critics and yesterday announced his resignation as chief executive. He will leave in December next year when he turns 65. No successor has been named.

"I am looking forward to spending more time with my artistic interests which include publishing and a novel released later this month," the Palestinian entrepeneur said.

The news came as the jeweller to the world's wealthy announced store closures and the appointment of a new non-executive director.

A close friend of John Asprey, majority shareholder of Asprey, Mr Attallah is recognised for his charm and marketing skills, which he used to build up the jewellery business and lead an expansion into the Far East and Eastern Europe.

His remuneration - which,including pension contribution, was more than £520,000 in 1994 - has helped fund many artistic ventures, including the Literary Review and Quartet Books.

Yesterday the company announced the appointment of Howard Dyer, chairman of Hamleys and Ascot Holdings (formerly Control Securities) as non-executive director.

Dealers attributed the rise in Asprey shares yesterday by 5p to 83p to Mr Dyer's reputation as tough negotiator with a good relationship with the banks.

Asprey also announced the closure of seven shops, including one of the five Les Ambassadeurs stores bought two years ago.

Some analysts regarded the closure as evidence of a strategy to spread the group's revenue stream away from the core Bond Street shop by diversifying into high street chains.

Most analysts felt that it was evidence the company was winding up recent acquisition -activity.

"We applaud signs that they are getting to grips with troublesome subsidiaries," said one shareholder.

Stockholders, who have seen shares collapse from a high of 331p in May 1994 to 83p, voiced concern that the changes did not go far enough.

Last year it was disclosed that the loss of a few big-spending customers would seriously depress profits.

Since then rumours have swept the market that the company has received reduced orders from the sultans of Brunei and Oman, two customers whose appetite for jewellery helped the main Asprey store in London's Bond Street provide a substantial proportion of group profits.

The company, which has £149m of stock on its balance sheet, has since launched a group-wide reconstruction programme.

"The company is approaching its considerable problems in a most diffident manner,"one institutional shareholder said.

"Waiting 18 months for the appointment of a new face after hearing the old face no longer fits is not very encouraging.

"We want someone with City credibility who can put the worst type of rumours that have beset the share price to bed."

The boardroom change will not take place until December 1996. Mr Attallah will head the search for his replacement.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The beat is on: Alfred Doda, Gjevat Kelmendi and Orli Shuka in ‘Hyena’
filmReview: Hyena takes corruption and sleaziness to a truly epic level
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable