'Business as usual' about to resume at Rentokil, says Flynn

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The Independent Online

The chief executive of Rentokil Initial, Doug Flynn, predicted yesterday it would be "business as usual" again in a week's time as the rat catching to potted plants group completed the shake-up of its top management.

Mr Flynn said he expected Sir Gerry Robinson's attempt to wrest control of the company to end in failure come Monday's deadline for shareholders to decide whether to back Raphoe Management, the bid vehicle created by the former Granada chairman and star of the television series I'll Show Them Who's Boss.

"The Raphoe exercise is a distraction but certainly not a derailment," Mr Flynn said. "My expectation is that by this time next week we will be back to business as usual."

He was speaking as Rentokil announced the departure of the managing director of its pest control and plants division, which accounts for one-quarter of the group's turnover. Edward Brown, who has been with Rentokil for 25 years, is expected to receive a £350,000 pay-off when he retires as a main board director in January.

Mr Brown, 54, is the sixth senior manager to leave since Mr Flynn took over as chief executive. He is being replaced by Andy Hobart, who joins from the RAC, which was recently taken over by the insurance giant Aviva. Mr Hobart will not join the Rentokil board.

A Raphoe spokesman claimed the departure of Mr Brown was further evidence of "panic" on the Rentokil board, saying Mr Flynn was throwing executives out "like ballast from a balloon" in an attempt to keep his own job.

Mr Flynn said he had been in discussions about Mr Brown's retirement for some time and his replacement was part of the strategy of reinvigorating management. Of its 10-strong management, only four were there when Mr Flynn arrived.

The Raphoe spokesman predicted the tussle for management control of the company would go "down to the wire", claiming a "cluster of blue-chip investors" was talking to Rentokil directors about Sir Gerry's attempts to install himself as executive chairman. But he refused to name any of the shareholders or say what proportion of Rentokil they owned.