BusinessCompany NewsMain list move sparks fear of AIM FD cull

Main list move sparks fear of AIM FD cull

Finance chiefs at AIM’s best-performing companies could be axed in favour of more experienced finance directors as they begin to take the launch pad to the Main List

Corporates have started a predicted shift to the senior exchange, with the
transition already claiming one FD scalp as companies steel themselves for the
rigours of the major leagues.

Companies are moving up following investor pressure to see AIM leaders on the
main index, where their performance is connected to that of the other
participants.

Leading animal genetics applications company Genus recently announced that
Martin Boden, previously financial controller of FTSE 100 retail and business
services company GUS, would be taking over the financial reins in a move that
has seen the current holder David Timmins leaving to ‘move on to new
challenges.’ Boden takes over on 2 April.

Despite Timmins’ three-year tenure in the FD role, his successful shepherding
of the company through early adoption of IFRS and his spearheading of a reverse
takeover of rival Sygen International he will be replaced by Boden in a matter
of days.

Genus stressed that Boden’s experience of the blue-chip market would be
critical if the company was to survive on the main list.

‘Mr Boden is a chartered accountant with considerable experience of large and
diverse FTSE 100 companies, most recently being group financial controller of
GUS plc,’ he said.

‘The Board believes Mr Boden’s abilities and experience will greatly benefit
the company particularly given the company’s forthcoming move to the official
list,’ a company spokesperson said.

Of the main list push AIM’s advisory board chair Adam Hart told
Accountancy Age: ‘It is undoubtedly being driven by fund managers.
We’re talking about companies with a market value of £100m and above, and out of
our client list we can see four moving up. We could see 40 to 50 in 2007,’ said
Hart.

He added: ‘Some AIM FDs are very experienced but companies may well take the
opportunity to change management when making the move.’

COMPANY REPORTS

Aegis appoints new FD

Aegis Group has announced Alicja Lesniak as its finance director in-waiting.
The media, communications and market research company disclosed that Lesniak
would be taking over after current CFO Jeremy Hicks leaves on 1 April 2007 to
continue his career in the US, where his family are resident. Commenting on the
changes, Colin Sharman, chairman of Aegis, said: ‘I’d like to thank Jeremy for
all he has done, helping Aegis more than double its revenue during his tenure.
We are sorry to see him go, but understand that his future lies on the other
side of the Atlantic.

‘I cannot think of a better successor than Alicja. She knows the agency world
inside out, has a natural feel for our business and has many years of
international experience.’

GM struggles continue

Struggling carmaker General Motors has warned that ineffective internal controls
over financial reporting might make it difficult for it to execute its business
plan. In the filing of its 2006 results with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, GM said weaknesses include poor ‘maintenance of records that, in
reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and
dispositions of the assets of the corporation,’ as well as failing to ensure
that receipts and expenditures of the corporation are being made only in
accordance with authorisations of management and directors of the corporation.’
GM said that its management recognised the problems and is taking steps to
correct them.

Zenith Hygiene FD resigns

Richard Colwell has resigned from his position as FD of hygiene services
provider Zenith. He was at the financial helm of the AIM-listed corporate when
its negotiations with a private equity group for a possible takeover fell
through at the start of March. Zenith also reported that its net debt at 31
January had worsened to £8.4m from its year-end position of £7.2m. Colwell has
been replaced by Julie Rowlands who will take over in an interim capacity.
Rowlands was previously FD of the company between November 2002 and November
2004, but left the group due to family commitments, the company said.

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