Clean sweep at Trocadero

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The Independent Online
Trocadero, owner of the eponymous leisure centre at London's Piccadilly Circus, yesterday announced a virtual clean sweep of the board by former executives of First Leisure with the appointment of John Conlan as chairman and Nick Tamblyn as managing director.

Both Mr Conlan, one of the founders of First Leisure and until recently its chief executive, and Mr Tamblyn, a former executive director, stepped down from the bowling alleys to Blackpool Tower group earlier this year after Michael Grade, the former Channel 4 chief executive, moved up to become executive chairman.

The two new directors are being given shares and options as part of an incentive scheme which could give them somewhere between 6 and 7 per cent of the company after three years. Shares worth pounds 1.37m will be held in an employee share ownership plan, with options over a further 20 million shares at the current share price of 18.25p, exercisable only if the share price doubles or earnings exceed 2.25p. Mr Conlan, paid pounds 403,000 last year at First Leisure, starts on a basic salary of pounds 300,000.

The latest appointments come in the wake of a deal worth up to pounds 210m to sell the Trocadero and London Pavilion properties back to Nigel Wray's Burford, the property group out of which the Trocadero group was spun in November 1995. But the shares, listed on the Alternative Investment Market, have been in almost continuous free fall since the middle of last year, when they peaked at 79.5p, after bigger-than-expected losses at the Segaworld entertainment centre. Yesterday they were unchanged at 18.25p, an all-time low.

Mr Conlan said yesterday there was "tremendous potential" in Trocadero. They would use its net cash of pounds 73m to develop the group in outside retail leisure.

Nigel Wray, former chairman, and Nick Leslau, acting chief executive, step down.