Mark Rogerson has quit after just 18 months as chief executive of Speedy Hire following a profit warning from the tool hire specialist.
The group said results for its new financial year would be “materially” lower than both the board’s hopes and its figures for 2015, when underlying earnings rose 5.8 per cent to £72.7 million.
Its slower-than-expected start of the year was blamed on a lack of available equipment during an overhaul of its branch network and “poor customer service” due to disruption caused by an IT system upgrade.
Speedy also said that a focus on major customer accounts at the expense of small firms had contributed to its poor revenue performance .
Chairman Jan Åstrand said: “This is extremely disappointing. I believe that Speedy remains a fundamentally good business but, whilst some progress has been made over the last year, the remedial action programmes have not been delivered as needed.”
He added: “Our immediate priority is to accelerate the execution of those programmes and realise the upside we believe they will deliver over the medium term. Additionally, we will increase our focus on the SME core hire market.”
Following the departure of Rogerson – who was promoted to chief executive from the role of chief operating officer at the start of last year – Åstrand has assumed the role of executive chairman but will revert to a non-executive position when Speedy posts its first-half results in November.
Merseyside-based Speedy Hire, which was founded in 1977, said that group finance director Russell Down has been appointed chief executive with immediate effect and will also retain the finance role until his replacement is appointed.
The group’s alert, which saw nearly a third of its stock market value wiped off, came just days after rival HSS Hire also warned over profits, in a move that sent its shares slumping by more than a quarter. HSS said on Monday that weak orders over the last few months from key accounts meant its six-month earnings would not top last year.