Frederick Cooper boss paid pounds 600,000 to go

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Edmund B Kirk will receive compensation of around pounds 600,000 after he was forced to resign yesterday as chief executive of Frederick Cooper, a West Midlands mini-conglomerate.

Institutional shareholders demanded the end of his 10-year reign following a pounds 13m loss last year and three profits warnings in 18 months. Mr Kirk had blamed the company's problems largely on the strong pound. Shares in Frederick Cooper fell 0.5p to 11.5p yesterday, after a high of 120p just three years ago.

In July Mr Kirk bowed to institutional pressure over the Cadbury Code and said he would scrap his combined role as chairman and chief executive. The company, which has a diverse range of products from houseware and architectural fittings to coatings on toasters, refused to comment publicly on the reasons for Mr Kirk's unexpected departure.

Geoffrey Gahan, non-executive chairman, will assume management responsibilities until a new chief executive is chosen. He said: "I will immediately be instituting a full strategic review of all the businesses in the group. When I was appointed as a director of Frederick Cooper two months ago I spoke to 40 per cent of all the company's shareholders. We will get one of the big six accountancy firms to do the review, which will take a few months."

The company is expected to announce a full-year profit of pounds 2.85m in November.