Search on for new Tiphook chief

TWO non-executive directors of Tiphook, the troubled transport leasing company, have begun a search for a new chief executive to replace Robert Montague, who is also chairman, according to sources close to the company.

Martin Kohlhaussen, chairman of Commerzbank, and Sir Charles Powell, Lady Thatcher's former foreign affairs adviser, are increasingly concerned for the future of the group. Neither was available for comment, but they are said to be looking inside and outside Tiphook for a chief executive who will at least complement Mr Montague, if he hangs on as chairman.

Mr Montague is believed to have the continuing support of Rupert Hambro, the deputy chairman, and Eric Goodwin, an executive director.

Mr Montague is one of the highest-paid executives in Britain, with a salary last year of pounds 851,000. His position at Tiphook has become increasingly precarious as the company - which has a gearing of more than 400 per cent and is badly hit by recession - runs into deeper financial trouble. It is already in talks with its bankers.

A company source said: 'Some of the non-executives are unhappy with the situation and have been for a while. The resignation of Roger Braidwood (the group's former finance director) was a sacrifice made to appease various interests, but I cannot believe that it has solved anything.'

Tiphook's new public relations adviser confirmed that the possibility of splitting Mr Montague's roles had been on the agenda for a while and that the past week's events might hasten the process. However, one source argued: 'Mr Montague is an all-or-nothing person. He will either hold on to both jobs or leave the group altogether.'

Tiphook's advisers are trying desperately to reassure a sceptical stock market that the company will reach a deal with its bankers after last Thursday's profits warning.

In New York on Friday afternoon, some of the group's pounds 400m of dollar-denominated bonds fell 25 cents in brisk trading to 75 cents as investors complained of a lack of communication from the company.

Tiphook's bankers, led by Commerzbank, Lloyds and NatWest, have a problem on their hands. It is difficult to see how the group can generate enough cash to pay its debts.

The company is still committed to pounds 327m of capital expenditure on new trailers over the next five years, leaving it deeply cash-negative. Abandoning that would lose it the low tax rate it secures from capital allowances.

The dividend, which cost pounds 21.2m this year, must be in doubt, though the high yield resulting from the generous payout has been one of the few props for the company's tottering share price.

There have always been question marks over the value of Tiphook assets, but unloading the fleet of trailers and containers on the market would drive values down further.

The company also has to contend with its bondholders. It has moved a large portion of its debts from bank borrowings into dollar-denominated bonds over the past 12 months. That raises the spectre of legal action from litigious US bondholders.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Howard Marks who has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer aged 69
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Developer - Watford - £45,000 - £47,000

£45000 - £47000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Product Manager - (Financial Services) - SW London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us