Huntsworth chief to go after investor revolt

 

Lord Chadlington, the 71-year-old chief executive of the public relations group Huntsworth, is to stand down amid increasing discontent from shareholders.

The founder of the group, which includes the City PR firm Citigate Dewe Rogerson, will stay until a successor has been found. Headhunters have been appointed.

The company endured a shareholder revolt at its annual meeting in June, with 33 per cent of investors voting against its future pay policy and 30 per cent failing to back Lord Chadlington’s re-election to the board.

Lord Chadlington, a Conservative peer and brother to the former Tory minister and fellow peer John Selwyn Gummer, had resisted calls for him to step aside.

However, he said yesterday: “It has been my intention for some while to stand down, and I am delighted that I will do so just as the economies of the world are turning for the better and that we have a management team which will make the most of [an] all-important investment plan which is now well under way.

“I am extremely proud of Huntsworth and what we have created,” he added.

Lord Myners, the former City minister who became chairman of Huntsworth recently, said: “Lord Chadlington is a hugely respected figure in public relations. From a standing start he has built Huntsworth into a group of leading global consultancies. It is quite understandable that he has concluded that the time is approaching when he should pull back from full-time executive duties.”

Huntsworth issued a profit warning in July and yesterday revealed that while revenues were down 6.5 per cent to £83.1m in the first half, pre-tax profits fell 24 per cent to £6.3m.

Shares in the group, which had fallen 40 per cent since April, gained 29 per cent yesterday, rising 12p to 53p.

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