SSL chief leaves 'by mutual consent' after three years of turmoil at Durex maker

Brian Buchan, the chief executive of SSL International, paid the price for failing to sell off its medical division yesterday as the board of the company that makes Durex condoms and Scholl footwear announced his resignation.

Brian Buchan, the chief executive of SSL International, paid the price for failing to sell off its medical division yesterday as the board of the company that makes Durex condoms and Scholl footwear announced his resignation.

He is to leave the company next week by "mutual agreement" and will get a year's salary as a pay-off. In 2003 he was paid £440,000 as annual salary.

Ian Martin, SSL chairman, said Mr Buchan had made a "selfless contribution" to the company through an "extremely difficult" period. "He will leave SSL in a far better position than when he joined it and we wish him well in the future."

Mr Buchan joined SSL three years ago but soon found the company was at the centre of a Serious Fraud Office investigation. Five former directors were charged in November after a two-year investigation into corruption of the company accounts.

It is believed that the board had become frustrated the lack of progress in the group's disposal programme. Talks to sell its surgical gloves and antiseptic scrubs business to 3i, the private equity group, dragged on for months before collapsing earlier this month. The company had promised the sale would be wrapped up by December, and recently warned that the proceeds from the sale may be lower than had been expected. Talks have resumed with another potential buyer.

Mr Buchan's exit is the second sudden departure of a top executive from the company recently. Steve Eastwood, the managing director of its Asia Pacific business, resigned earlier this month to "spend more time with his family."

Mr Buchan will be replaced by Garry Watts, SSL's finance director and managing director of its European operations, who has been running the largest part of the business, as its European operations generate 75 per cent of group turnover.

Mr Watts was key to the discovery of the alleged fraud at SSL when he joined as its finance director in February 2001. The company is now looking for a new finance director.

Since the discovery of the alleged fraud, SSL has been trying to get rid of its medical brands to become a consumer healthcare group.

Once the non-core medical businesses have been sold, SSL is likely to become a bid target. There has been speculation that Reckitt Benkiser is stalking SSL. The company has already raised about £75m from selling two businesses, its bandages division and its industrial gloves unit.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...