Regent Inns ousts top two directors

Regent Inns, the struggling pubs group that has issued three profits warnings this year, yesterday sacked its chief executive and finance director, four days before its full-year results are due.

Regent Inns, the struggling pubs group that has issued three profits warnings this year, yesterday sacked its chief executive and finance director, four days before its full-year results are due.

Stephen Haupt and Simon Rowe were ordered to leave immediately, four years after they were hired to turn around the company. Both were on a one-year contract and are likely to receive compensation for their abrupt departure.

The move leaves the group without executive directors during one of the most challenging environments for pub operators. JD Wetherspoon last week warned its profits would be hit for the next two years because it needed to lower its already cheap prices.

The company refused to give any explanation for its sudden decision but said Peter Savage, its chairman, would take up a "part-time" executive role. Its other non-executives are Nigel Potter, the former chief executive of the gaming group Wembley, who is still fighting bribery charges in the US, and Nigel Batchelor, a former stockbroker. The group ousted Michael Thiele, who used to run its Walkabout estate, in April.

Yesterday brought back unhappy memories for Regent's shareholders, who have seen the value of their holdings yo-yo since an accounting error six years ago destroyed the company's reputation.

Mr Haupt, who joined from Scottish & Newcastle, took over from David Franks, Regent's founder who presided over the infamous profits warning in 1998. Selling off the group's unbranded traditional pub estate in favour of focusing on its two high street chains initially helped the share price recover to 204p in early 2001. But the City has since punished Mr Haupt's overambitious expansion programme, which culminated in multiple profits warnings and saw the company rack up debts of more than £70m. The shares, which traded at 98p a year ago, were flat yesterday at 37p, giving the group a stock market valuation of just £41.6m.

One top ten institutional investor said: "There has been an active dialogue with the company. The time was right for a change. You've only got to look at the share price to realise there has been a general lack of support for the executive team."

Analysts expect the company to report pre-tax profits of about £12m on Tuesday, down from £14.4m the previous year. Nigel Popham, at Teather & Greenwood, said even this reduced figure would mask a massive deterioration during the second half, which is likely to have seen profits fall to £4.2m from £7.7m during the first six months. He expects forecasts for 2005 to be "materially reduced" to about £8m from £12m.

"The company operates in a very difficult marketplace but it has overspent and will have to pay the consequences," Mr Popham said.

News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
peopleBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Austen Lloyd: Company Secretary

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: EAST ANGLIA - SENIOR SOLICITOR LEVEL ROLE** -...

Citifocus Ltd: German Speaking Client Specialist

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious asset management house seeks a...

Citifocus Ltd: Performance & Risk Oversight

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: This is a varied role focusing on the firm's mutua...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Director - SaaS (SME/Channel) - £140,000 OTE

£90000 - £140000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Are you a high achievin...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game