African Lakes loses its chief to the Royal Shakespeare Company

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The Independent Online

In a surprise move, Chris Foy, the chief executive of the internet services company African Lakes Corporation yesterday said he was leaving to join the Royal Shakespeare Company as its new managing director.

In a surprise move, Chris Foy, the chief executive of the internet services company African Lakes Corporation yesterday said he was leaving to join the Royal Shakespeare Company as its new managing director.

Mr Foy, who has been with African Lakes for two years, said his new RSC role was a recently created position, which will involve overseeing a £100m redevelopment of its Stratford theatres.

The announcement leaves African Lakes, formerly a conglomerate of hotel, mining and agri-business interests, facing an uncertain future after its chairman Ben Cleminson recently announced his intention also to step down.

Last year African Lakes acquired the internet service provider Africa Online, now operating in eight countries. It has also teamed up with Barclays Africa to launch a pilot scheme for internet cafes.

The company, founded in the last century in Glasgow, made a mis-timed foray into the UK automotive market in the mid-1990s, which forced it to seek refinancing to the tune of £17m.

After that, it switched to focus on providing Net services across the African continent. Last year it reported a first-half profit of £600,000, but this year posted a pre-tax loss of £504,000 for the six months to March.

Yesterday, the shares closed down 3p at 35p.

"Theatre has been a lifetime's passion. This came out of the blue, and it was a compelling opportunity," said 54-year-old Mr Foy. A spokesman for African Lakes said the appointment of a new chairman was "imminent".

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