Salvesen shakes up top team ahead of break-up

Christian Salvesen, the Edinburgh-based conglomerate facing attack for its radical break-up proposals, yesterday announced that Sir Alick Rankin was to step down as chairman, with chief executive Chris Masters moving over to head up the smaller Aggreko hire business.

The moves came as it emerged that rebel shareholders led by the former chairman, Sir Gerald Elliot, were ready to put up a rival management team led by a "heavy hitter" to replace the present incumbents.

Mr Masters last night dismissed any suggestion that the top-level changes had been prompted by Sir Gerald's campaign to scupper plans to spin off Aggreko and pay a pounds 150m special dividend. He said it had been well known since early last year that Sir Alick was due to step down at the annual meeting in July.

He also brushed aside any idea that he was being demoted when he left the helm of the larger group. "I am totally and utterly confident and happy with having been offered and accepted the position of executive chairman of Aggreko," he said.

There had been no pressure from the Elliot camp. "We have had no institutions expressing concern over the demerger to us. Gerald took the business public. He has a viewpoint. He seems to be a fan of conglomerates. He seems to believe that under no circumstances should companies return cash to shareholders. I happen to disagree with that."

Sir Gerald refused to comment on yesterday's changes. He will not name his alternative management team until Salvesen comes up with a date for the extraordinary general meeting to approve the proposals, rumoured to be set for 13 March, with the document to shareholders said to be ready to go out on 17 February.

Sir Gerald, who is a member of the founding Salvesen family which still owns 37 per cent of the group, has brought in Sutherlands, an Edinburgh stockbroker, and Quayle Munro, a boutique corporate finance house also based in the Scottish capital, to back his campaign.

The changes at Salvesen will see Sir Alick being replaced by Jonathan Fry, a non-executive director who is currently chief executive of Burmah Castrol.Edward Roderick is to become chief executive of the rump Salvesen business of transport and frozen vegetable processing. Mr Roderick only joined the group last year as managing director of the industrial division of Salvesen Logistics.

Ironically he joined from Hays, the group whose abortive pounds 1.1bn bid last summer triggered the move to break up the company as an attempt to assuage shareholders' concerns about the poor performance of Salvesen's shares.

David York, who has been with Aggreko since its formation in 1973, moves up to become managing director, while Ian Adam remains as finance director of the Salvesen rump.

The rebels remain confident they have a sympathetic ear from big shareholders. A spokesman said: "Sir Gerald has been well received by the institutions, some of whom have been critical of the management and its proposals."

But many still remain to be convinced, even in Scotland. One of the bigger institutional shareholders said this week: "My view is that Elliot has not proposed anything of substance which makes me want to reject the board's proposals."

Another said: "On balance, mine is still a supportive view, but I would like to see what Salvesen comes up with." He said the crucial issue was how the new companies proposed to handle the extra debt taken on as a result of the special dividend payouts.

Another observer was more robust, describing Sir Gerald as "one of the old-style Edinburgh mafia who wants to go backwards in time".

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

The benefits of being in Recruitment at SThree...

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...

Test Analyst - UAT - Credit Risk

£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little