Orbis chief resigns after second profits warning

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The Independent Online

Orbis yesterday parted company with its chief executive, Ian Quinlan, as the property services group issued its second profit warning in five months.

John Leach, the chairman, said shareholders had expected a change of chief executive if promises to improve the company's trading performance significantly were not achieved.

It is not known if Mr Quinlan, who joined Orbis from the food group Albert Fisher in 1999, will receive compensation as a result of his resignation. Mr Leach said any settlement was a matter for both parties' solicitors. Jonathan Horton, a non-executive director, will take over as chief executive until a permanent replacement is found.

In its latest alert, Orbis said: "While the board is pleased with the progress which has been made during the last six months ended 31 March and the increased profitability of the business compared to the six months ended 30 September 2001, the recovery has not been as strong as anticipated."

The company announced its first profit warning in November last year, when it reported a first-half net loss of £2.9m. It made a £609,000 profit in the year-earlier period but lost money after it invested in its property security unit and sales failed to materialise.

That warning led the group to renegotiate covenants and conditions on its bank borrowings. Orbis stressed yesterday it was still complying with all the terms of the arrangements, which expire next month.