De La Rue has named a top executive from troubled UK software company Micro Focus as its next chairman, as the banknote printer grapples with a series of setbacks including a Serious Fraud Office investigation.
Kevin Loosemore, who is chairman of Micro Focus and was a managing director at De La Rue in the late 1990s, will join at the start of October and replace Philip Rogerson, De La Rue said on Monday.
The world’s biggest printer of banknotes has been assailed by a series of crises this year, beginning with a profit warning in May alongside the exit of chief executive Martin Sutherland. Since then, the departures of Mr Rogerson and senior non-executive directors have also been announced, and an investigation by the SFO into the company’s business in South Sudan disclosed.
Shares in De La Rue, which has come under pressure from activist investor Crystal Amber, have tumbled almost 50 per cent this year. Those in Micro Focus have fared little better, with a 35 per cent slide this year as the FTSE 100 company struggles to integrate the $8.8bn acquisition of Hewlett-Packard’s troubled software business.
The appointment of Mr Loosemore, who is quitting the chairmanship of another software group, IRIS, to take on the De La Rue role, was made after consulting shareholders, according to a person familiar with the process. However, Richard Bernstein, investment adviser to Crystal Amber, said it had not been consulted about the appointment despite being a significant investor.
Mr Rogerson has been leading the search for a new chief executive.
Mr Loosemore steered Micro Focus through the acquisition of the HP business in his role as executive chairman — a role he has held since 2011. While Micro Focus has had success in integrating and cutting costs at legacy software businesses, the HP software deal has proved more difficult, resulting in highly volatile earnings.
Shares in Micro Focus tumbled more than 30 per cent last Thursday in the wake of a sales warning. Mr Loosemore has joined De La Rue’s board as a non-executive director and chairman-designate with immediate effect.
Separately, De La Rue also disclosed on Monday that it had failed to notify the market for more than two months that a US investor, Brandes Investment Partners, had increased its stake from 10 per cent in late June to more than 14 per cent. The company said the notifications from Brandes had been sent to an inbox that was no longer monitored.
Shares in De La Rue stock closed little changed, while shares in Micro Focus finished down 1.9 per cent.
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