Heads roll as Torex inquiry gathers pace

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The Independent Online

The chairman and chief executive of Torex Retail have been pushed aside to make room for a restructuring expert to delve into the affairs of the retail software company, which is under investigation by the SFO and City of London police.

Iain Lynam, who is also working on a turnaround project for the NHS, has taken the executive reins at Torex Retail. He is working for Deloitte, the consultancy firm appointed by the group's board to investigate the accounts.

Lawyers from Linklaters are also crawling over the company, which suspended its shares last Friday after an unexpected profit warning issued to the stock market. Marcus Leek, the finance director, will work alongside Mr Lynam, the company said.

In a brief statement issued late yesterday, Torex said Christopher Moore, who founded the company in the 1990s, was stepping aside as chairman. Neil Mitchell, the chief executive, "has been asked to step down from executive duties", it added. Both men will remain on the board and will continue to draw their salaries. Mr Mitchell only joined the company last September.

Geoff Forster, the senior non executive director who is thought to have contacted the SFO over the weekend, is chairing a committee established yesterday with "full authority to carry on the management of the company".

It is understood that Mr Lynam, who works for a turnaround company called Aaronite, is looking at Torex Retail's accounts for 2006 and 2007. His brief is to explain to the stock market how the company issued a profit warning only eight days after a bullish trading update.

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