Galaxy chief ousted without payoff

The chief executive of Galaxy Media Corporation has been ousted after a change of strategy brought about since the appointment of Robert Stigwood, the impresario, as non-executive chairman a couple of months ago.

John Webber, who only became the executive head of the television programme maker and entertainment business last October, is not receiving any compensation for loss of office.

His departure was the result of a significant shift in the company's planned future development, said Christopher Moran, the company's vice- chairman, leading shareholder, and the well-known former Lloyd's name.

Mr Stigwood, a long-standing friend of Mr Moran, also stands to become a significant shareholder after having been granted options over 350,000 shares. The company has 3.5 million shares in issue, and exercise of the options would give Mr Stigwood a 9 per cent stake in the company.

Galaxy said it would concentrate on its interests in film, TV, music and stage promotions, and added that the business of managing sports events and artists which Mr Webber brought into the company when he joined Galaxy would be retained.

Mr Webber, a former vice-chairman of Mark McCormack's International Management Group, injected his own BM International business interests and bought 150,000 shares at 135p when he joined the company last year.

The share price closed unchanged at 160p on the Seat market yesterday, valuing the company, which has yet to make a profit, at around pounds 5.6m.

Galaxy paid Mr Webber, who did not have a contract entitling him to compensation, a consultancy fee of pounds 55,000 a year and a profit-related bonus which lapses with his departure. Mr Webber went on holiday last Friday and his future plans are unknown, according to his spokeswoman yesterday.

Galaxy was created from a reverse takeover of CSC Investment Trust by Mike Mansfield Television less than two years ago. Mr Moran own about 29 per cent of the company, Mr Mansfield about 15 per cent.