The latest twist in the listed dealer group Lookers drama will see board members depart and the chairman take an executive role, it has been revealed today.
In an announcement made to the Stock Market this morning, the group’s board will undergo a raft of changes as the business looks its ‘long-term future’.
Heading the changes is current chairman Phil White who will take up the position of executive chairman of July 1 to ‘oversee this transitional period’ alongside CEO Mark Raban.
Richard Walker, senior independent director and Sally Cabrini, non-executive-director and chair of the Remuneration Committee will not stand for re-election at the group’s AGM on June 29, 2020.
Stuart Counsell, non-executive director and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee remains on the board until the completion of the 2019 results and the appointment of his successor.
Tony Bramall, non-executive director, will not stand for re-election at the 2021 AGM, while Heather Jackson, non-executive director, will act as senior independent director and become chair of the Remuneration Committee on July 1 after he completion of the 2019 results.
Vicky Mitchell, non-executive director, will assume the role of chair of Lookers Motor Group from July 1. Lookers confirmed a search is underway for a new non-executive chairman and two new non-executive directors, one of whom will fill the role of chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.
Phil White, chairman, said: ‘The group has faced many significant issues in the recent past, both externally and internally, which have been exacerbated by Covid-19.
‘As a board, we have had to take many difficult decisions and it has been critical to be able to draw on the experience of all the members of the board and to have had consistency during this challenging period.
‘The board recognises the need to bring in new skills and experience to guide the business through the next phase of its development. With our dealerships reopened, we believe now is the time to put in place plans for the future of Lookers. As a result, we have agreed an orderly transition to refresh the Board over the coming months.
‘I am extremely grateful to my colleagues on the board for their hugely valuable contribution and commitment. In particular, I would like to thank both Richard Walker and Sally Cabrini, who are leaving the board after next week’s AGM, for their support and contribution to the group over many years.
‘I remain committed to resolve the group’s legacy issues, reshape the board and ensure that the group is strategically well positioned to exploit the many opportunities ahead.’
The changes come after a turbulent 2020 so far.
In March, the firm had identified ‘potential fraudulent transactions’ in one of its operating divisions and delayed publishing its results, and within days its then chief operating officer, Cameron Wade, left the business with immediate effect after only being in the role for a few weeks.
One month later an investigation confirmed fraudulent activity had taken place and resulted in a £4m charge in the group’s 2019 financial statements.
The group announced earlier this month it would temporarily suspend shares on July 1 as it delayed its results for 2019 once again.
Along with the ongoing fraud investigation, Lookers said earlier this month it was to axe 12 dealerships and make 1,500 jobs, it was in crunch talks with a consortium of four banks to secure its future, and rumours were rife within the industry it could be swallowed up.
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