Ousted Christian Salvesen finance director scoops £470,000 pay-off

The haulage company Christian Salvesen ousted its finance director yesterday with a pay-off likely to be in the region of £470,000.

Peter Aspden, who had been with the company for five years, was on a two-year rolling contract and was paid a basic salary last year of £235,000.

He has been replaced on an interim basis by Julian Steadman, the former finance director of the biotechnology company Biocompatibles, until a permanent successor is found. A Salvesen spokesman said the board decided that it needed to change finance directors in the light of the company's trading performance.

In June it reported a one-third fall in pre-tax profits to £20m and warned that the slowdown in the manufacturing sector meant it was in for another tough year. Mr Aspden's departure may provide some temporary respite for Salvesen's chief executive Edward Roderick, who has also been under pressure to quit because of the company's lacklustre performance.

Salvesen shares closed unchanged last night at 55p - well above their low for the year of 33p but below the peak of 66p they hit in May after the company disclosed it had received a bid approach from an unnamed financial buyer. The approach was withdrawn two weeks later.

The spokesman said it was possible that Mr Steadman, 49, could take on the finance director's job on a permanent basis depending on how the company's search progressed.

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