Queens Moat founder quits: Sweeping changes at hotels group as new chief executive takes over

ANDREW COPPEL checked in yesterday as group chief executive at Queens Moat Houses, the hotels group suspended on the stock market three months ago, and instigated sweeping boardroom changes including the ousting of John Bairstow, founder of the group.

Mr Bairstow, formerly chairman and joint managing director, has relinquished all his executive duties but will continue as non-executive chairman until a new chairman is found.

Mr Coppel, former finance director at Ratners and ex-chief executive of the failed Sale Tilney, was appointed consultant to Queens Moat in April. His decision to accept the post was viewed in the City as mildly encouraging for shareholders. The shares were suspended at 47.5p on 31 March.

Mr Coppel said yesterday that he and his team, including merchant bankers and his former employer, Morgan Grenfell, had until the end of October to produce a strategic plan for a restructuring.

The company's 65 banks, led by Barclays and National Westminster, are owed more than pounds 1bn.

'I would not have accepted if I didn't believe that the company could be successfully restructured,' he said. 'I had to be assured of the support of our core bankers and also the flexibility to make boardroom and management changes as I saw fit. My job now is to maximise value for shareholders. The key problem at Queens Moat has been a lack of financial controls in recent years in a group which outgrew its management.'

The question of compensation for Mr Bairstow had not been an issue, and if it were raised appropriate advice would be taken.

Robert Abson, Peter Bertholdt and Leo Van de Meer have given up their boardroom roles in overseeing the UK, Germany and the Netherlands but will retain operational responsibilities in those countries.

Alan Porter, assistant finance director, has resigned. In May David Hersey stepped down as finance director along with Martin Marcus, formerly deputy chairman. Gerald Bell remains executive director in charge of the group's hotel division.

With the exception of David Howell, the former energy secretary, and John Gale, a retired senior executive with National Westminster, all Queens Moat's non-executive directors are to leave.

They include Eric Earey, Ted Lowe, the snooker commentator, John Maddern and Maurice Hart, a retired senior partner of Bird Luckin, the group's auditors, who have been replaced by Coopers & Lybrand.

Mr Coppel said his remuneration included a basic salary, share options and incentives based on a successful relisting and restructuring of Queens Moat. He denied weekend reports that he stood to make a fortune out of a rescue of the company, saying that his package was within Association of British Insurers guidelines.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • 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

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected