Reshuffle at William Sinclair

Departure of financial director prompts managerial changes

The departure of William Sinclair Holdings’ financial director, Steve Rowland, is nothing to do with the company’s accounting irregularity problems, says executive chairman Peter Barton. Barton is returning to the his role as non-executive chairman, which was his position before chief executive Roger Feaviour resigned in 2002. He has been executive chairman since January 2003. The discovery of accounting irregularities (HW, 28 October) led to the adjournment of the annual general meeting and withdrawal of the recommended final dividend. Barton said Rowland has a “corporate focus”. He added: “We need someone who can work closer into the business, which is not Steve’s forte. It has no relation to the accounting irregularities.” The company is now looking for a new chief executive and financial director. Barton said: “This is simply an enactment of a statement in the annual report that the board was looking to put into place to make a structure that is appropriate and applicable to taking the business forward. “We’re looking for someone with strength in marketing consumer goods, with a very strong sales and marketing background. “My new role will be to run the board. The board’s role is to set strategy. My contribution is to deal with the financial market.” The financial irregularities have cost William Sinclair almost £1 million. Directors reported that an internal review found the irregularities, which relate to before the year ended 30 June 2004. The group has suspended its AGM, which was scheduled for 28 October, until it determines the impact of the finding on finances. Its board added that it is withdrawing its recommendation for the final dividend and is halving the interim dividend to 2.25p.

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