Former chief Moir quits Jeyes board

BY WILLIAM GLEESON

Jim Moir, the former chief executive of Jeyes, the cleaning fluids business, has resigned from his post as deputy chairman. Jeyes is also considering firing its auditor, Ernst & Young, following a problem with accounting controls in previous years.

In a terse statement the company said Mr Moir was resigning to explore other business opportunities. Mr Moir led a management buyout from Cadbury Schweppes in 1986 and the subsequent flotation in 1988.

He was seen in the City as the architiect of the company's growth since flotation. However things started to go wrong two years ago as a result of price pressures.

He stepped down as chief executive in September as part of the company's management restructuring programme. The company believed it needed fresh management.

David Callear, who took over from Mr Moir as chief executive, said: "Our parting has been most amicable. Jimmy felt he had given the company all he could and it was now time to move on."

At the time Mr Moir stepped down from the chief executive's job he was given £91,000 compensation. He will not be getting additional compensation following his departure from the board yesterday.

As chief executive, Mr Moir earned a salary of £130,000, but according to the company he did not take up the full amount. He drove a Volkswagen Golf, a modest car by the standards of many company directors.

Jeyes revealed yesterday that it has had to take a hit to this year's profit figures and restate the previous year's figure as a result of accounting errors coming to light.

Estimates of marketing and promotional costs in the last year's figures were too low.

The accounting adjustment put through this year's profit and loss account to correct the figures has cost the company £2.5m and contributed to plunging Jeyes into loss for the 1994 year.

Mr Callear, who initially joined the company as finance director in May 1994, said proper financial controls had now been established.

About possibly firing Ernst & Young, the company's auditor, Mr Callear said: "I have not discussed that with them at this stage. I will be telling them before telling anybody else. We will be reviewing our relationship with the auditor in the near future."

The loss before tax for the year to end-December was £4.1m, down from a profit of £1.7m in the previous year. Turnover was down from £114m to £109m. The falls are due to consumers buying cheaper, unbranded cleaners which have low margins.

Shares in Jeyes slumped on the news of the profit figures, falling 19p to 145p, less than half the 1994 high of 385p.

Mr Callear said: "Things will continue to be tough through the current year. We have had a substantial rationalisation and consolidation programme, involving people and factories."

The loss per share is 16.2p, against last year's earnings of 6p per share. The dividend is 3.3p, down from 8.1p last year.

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