Three more directors quit CSG

THE BID by Michael Ashcroft, the Conservative Party treasurer, for recruitment firm Corporate Services Group took another twist yesterday as three directors caved in to shareholder pressure and resigned.

The departures of non-executives Ronald de Young and Tim Holland-Bosworth and acting chairman Ralph Hulbert follow last week's resignation of chairman Jeffrey Fowler. They could scupper the pounds 282m bid by New Carlisle, a service company controlled by Mr Ashcroft. Under the terms of the complex offer, the entrepreneur has the right to walk away if the composition of the board changes.

New Carlisle said yesterday its advisers were in talks with the Takeover Panel over whether its offer should be withdrawn.

The resignations are another concession to three key CSG shareholders who want to replace the board to put an end to CSG's abysmal performance.

Mercury Asset Management, M&G and Schroders, which own around 31 per cent of CSG, were also boosted yesterday when the company agreed to call an extraordinary meeting to vote on their candidates for the board positions. They claim to have the required 50 per cent majority to install Michael Davies, National Express chairman, Gilles Avenel, finance director of insurer Sun Life & Provincial, and Peter Button as directors.