Directors resign from retail jewellery group

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The Independent Online

Four Icelandic directors have resigned from Aurum Holdings, the retail jewellery group which was backed by the collapsed retail investor Baugur.

The non-executive directors, include Kristin Johannesdottir, the chairman of Baugur Group and sister of Jon Asgeir Johannesson, who founded the retail investment group in 1989 and took it on an acquisition binge that saw take control of, or buy stakes in, large swathes of the UK high street.

Aurum Holdings is the group behind the Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths, Watches of Switzerland and jewellery brands. Baugur filed for bankruptcy last week.

The other three Aurum directors who have resigned over recent weeks include Palmi Haraldsson, of Fons, an investment company linked to Baugur, Petur Mar Halldorsson, also at Fons, and Andras Szirtes, who previously worked for Baugur.

It is understood that PwC, which declined to comment, will seek to appoint new non-executive directors to the board of Aurum Holdings. The operations of its retail jewellery chains remain unaffected by the resignations.

In February, Baugur collapsed into administration after it withdrew an attempt to block creditors in its local courts in Iceland. The administration resulted in PricewaterhouseCoopers, on behalf of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki, taking control of Baugur’s 37.8 per cent shareholding in Aurum Group.

PwC also now holds Baugur’s 13.7 per cent stake in the frozen food retailer Iceland, 34.9 per cent of the department store House of Fraser, and 63.7 per cent of the toy chain Hamleys.