The chairman of G4S fell on his sword yesterday as he paid the price for the global security firm's abandoned £5.3bn takeover of Danish cleaning firm ISS.
Alf Duch-Pedersen, 65, who has headed the G4S board since 2006, is leaving after the collapse of the deal, although chief executive Nick Buckles is still in a job.
Mr Duch-Pedersen's position looked untenable after shareholders refused to swallow a £2bn rights issue to pay for the takeover, unveiled last October.
Investors were worried by the uncertain economic backdrop and about the size of the merged firm, which would have had 1.2 million staff.
Many also believed G4S should focus on its security arm, which boasts contracts including the deal to protect athletes and visitors at the London 2012 Olympics.
Protests forced the board to abandon the move, which cost it £50m in fees.
But the damage was done to the share price, which plunged more than 20 per cent in the wake of the announcement and is still to claw back the losses fully.
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