BBA shares slide as 'Bob the Knife' goes

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The Independent Online

Roberto Quarta, the chief executive of BBA Group, yesterday shocked the City with the news that he is to step down in March. The announcement sent BBA shares 11 per cent lower, wiping nearly £230m off the value of the company.

Roberto Quarta, the chief executive of BBA Group, yesterday shocked the City with the news that he is to step down in March. The announcement sent BBA shares 11 per cent lower, wiping nearly £230m off the value of the company.

Mr Quarta, who earned £812,00 last year, has attracted the nicknames Bob the Knife and Spare No Quarta, for the aggressive way in which he has reshaped and cut the nappy liners to pilot training group from seven divisions to two since he took the helm in 1993. Pre-tax profits reported yesterday, for the first half of 2000, were up 7 per cent at £97.7m.

Mr Quarta will join the US private equity group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice as a partner but will become as non-executive chairman of BBA. Roy McGlone, the finance director, will succeed him as chief executive.

Mr Quarta said: "I feel that I was brought in to do a job.... That is now complete. At 51, I still have time to do something else."

One analyst said: "A chief executive's job is never done. He could have gone on creating value and restructuring the company. The market attaches a premium to having a great guy at the helm." BBA shares closed down 51p at 427p.

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