Durlacher brings in Stainforth as new chief executive

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Christopher Stainforth, the former Phillips and Drew executive acquitted in the Blue Arrow fraud case, has been appointed as the chief executive of Durlacher, the tech-focused investment bank.

Mr Stainforth, 48, formerly the UK director of German investment boutique Ermgassen, replaces Geoffrey Chamberlain, 60, who last month outlined plans to split his roles of chairman and managing director.

Durlacher shares climbed 0.5p to 4.25p, valuing it at £24m. Interest in the company's sprawling portfolio of internet investments saw its value touch £2.52bn at the height of the bull market in 2000.

Mr Stainforth said he had taken the job largely because Durlacher's brand remained well-known in the City and company boardrooms, despite the deflation of the dot.com bubble. He wanted to broaden Durlacher's sector expertise, while retaining a focus on the New Economy.

"I feel there's a big gap in advising small and medium-sized companies, which are rather unloved. It's a lot better for me to say I'm at Durlacher rather than at Ermgassen, even though Ermgassen is better known in Germany," he said.

Several of his former colleagues are also moving to Durlacher, including Richard Swindells, who is to join the corporate finance team.

In 1988, Mr Stainforth, then an employee at Phillips & Drew, was the only person to be acquitted in a case brought by the Serious Fraud Office over a share offer for Blue Arrow, then the UK's largest employment agency. Other defendants saw their convictions quashed on appeal.

Mr Stainforth went on to join the investment bank Guinness Mahon, which he left following its takeover by Investec of South Africa in 1998.

He said that he had discussed the Blue Arrow affair with Mr Chamberlain, but no more than any other part of his CV. "I do not think anyone at P&D did anything wrong [in Blue Arrow]. There are things I would ask now that I didn't ask then, but that's a function of age [rather than Blue Arrow]. I have always been straightforward, upfront and aggressive. I haven't changed," he added.

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