Spreckelsen hiring sweetens Thorntons
John von Spreckelsen, the former chairman of Somerfield who has a reputation for selling companies, has been parachuted in to Thorntons, the chocolate retailer that has recently lurched from profits warning to bid talks and back again.
The former supermarket executive, who ran Budgens before selling it to Ireland's Musgrave, joined Thorntons as chairman yesterday. His appointment sparked speculation that the company would be sold, and shares in Thorntons closed 5p higher at 121p.
Mr Von Spreckelsen takes over from Christopher Burnett, who was ousted in March after his attempt to buy Thorntons failed when he dropped his mooted bid price to 130p per share from 185p.
The founding Thorntons family, who still speak for about 25 per cent of the group's shares, are thought to be keen to find a buyer. Baugur, the acquisitive Icelandic investment company, is known to have eyed Thorntons in the past and its interest could be rekindled.
For his part, Mr Von Spreckelsen said he had joined to "review the strategy, if necessary change it and then implement it". He denied being charged to sell the company, saying: "That was not part of my discussions with the independent directors." John Thornton, who ran the business for most of the 1980s and 1990s, is one of the company's non-executive directors.
In a statement, Thorntons highlighted the fact that Mr Von Spreckelsen "delivered excellent returns to shareholders". The company said he would be work in an "executive capacity", helping the executive directors implement a new strategy.
Thorntons was one of the first high-street casualties last Christmas. Its shops saw sharply lower sales while its wholesale chocolate business - which sells to most of the major supermarkets - has been criticised for weakening the brand.
Threat of 'catastrophic cascade of collisions' must be averted, warn scientists
Oxford is the least affordable city in the UK, where houses cost 11 times local salaries
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Space debris orbiting Earth to be destroyed with giant lasers fired from Australia
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete repeatedly vomits as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's autopsy
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 2 North Korea elections: Kim Jong-un wins 100% of the vote
- 3 David Cameron resorts to paying for Facebook fans because not enough people like him
- 4 Steve Irwin’s final words: Cameraman present at death opens up about deadly stingray attack for the first time
- 5 Sharknado 2: Former WWE wrestler Kurt Angle to fight second wave of flying sharks
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£55000 - £70000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: In-House Corporat...
£80000 - £100000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: In-House Opportu...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Mixed Ta...