Bowater man to replace sacked chief at Fisons

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The Independent Online
FISONS has looked outside the drug industry for a successor to Cedric Scroggs, sacked as chief executive by the troubled group last December after it was forced into its third profit warning in two years, writes Gail Counsell.

Stuart Wallis, a director of the packaging group Bowater, is to take over in September. Patrick Egan, chairman and acting chief executive for the past six months, said he was likely to step down shortly after he takes charge. He will be 65 years old next year.

The City greeted the appointment with some surprise. Mr Wallis, a 48-year-old taxation accountant by training, has no experience of the drugs or scientific instruments business. He was previously in charge of Bowater's European packaging and international health and beauty activities. Before taking a directorship at Bowater, he was a director of Octopus Publishing, responsible for its distribution business.

But Mr Egan stressed that he felt the company needed an effective, hands-on manager rather than a scientific expert. Mr Scroggs previously headed its scientific instruments business, which was responsible for much of the company's problems in 1993.

Troubles in scientific instruments came on top of problems in its core drugs business, and Fisons' share price, which languishes at around 138p, collapsed from previous highs of more than 500p.

The shares were unchanged at 138p.