Departure of CEO fuels fear of Stepstone losses

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Stepstone, the high-profile online recruitment company, parted company with its chief executive, Giles Clark, yesterday, fuelling concern that it will report mounting losses next month.

Mr Clark, who made millions from his involvement with Majestic Wine Warehouses and Pet City, has led the company since 1999. The company said it needed a chief executive with more information technology and "business to business" skills.

Karen Slatford, a non- executive director, will take over until a replacement for Mr Clark can be found. She said: "Having done the expansion phase we need a phase where we pay a lot more attention to the product and our sales."

Stepstone's shares, which are listed in Norway, sank to a new low on the news.

The company declined to discuss its revenue position ahead of the end of the second quarter, at the end of this month. But it said its costs were in line with expectations. In April the company had a first-quarter net loss of 75.6m euros (£45m) after heavy provisions for asset write-downs and redundancies. Stepstone has already cut almost a third of its staff.

Stepstone operates in 18 countries and says companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Renault use its websites to recruit staff.

Yesterday it said: "Although the company has suffered from some delays in the rollout of new technologies in the past, we are confident this market has tremendous potential."