The company itself, however, is at pains to point out that there are no plans for him to leave. But it’s hard not to have some sympathy with the conspiracy theorists on this one.
Marconi of course suddenly lost a senior accountant last year when former finance director and deputy chief executive John Mayo was forced to resign and, so far, the financial restructuring it has undertaken since has failed to avert losses spiralling beyond the £100m mark.
When last week Marconi chairman Derek Bonham announced he would stand down as soon as the troubled telecoms group has completed its debt-for-equity swap, the vultures gathered once again. Nothing that wasn’t planned, says Marconi. But when you are talking about a company with debts of around £4bn, you can perhaps forgive the doom-mongers for assuming yet more bad news is set to tumble out of the corporate cupboard.
Once Bonham does depart, more responsibility than ever will rest on Hare’s shoulders. He does at least know Marconi inside out. Appointed to the board in April last year in the wake of Mayo’s exit, Hare has held a number of key financial positions at the company.
The 41-year-old chartered accountant joined GEC in 1989 and has moved steadily through the ranks in a decade-long tour of duty within the company’s UK-based subsidiaries.
He spent seven years with GPT, GEC’s telecommunications joint venture with Siemens, subsequently becoming finance director of GEC’s industrial division. In 1998 he was appointed chief operating officer of Marconi Communications – before, a year later, moving in to the CFO’s seat at the same subsidiary. Then in 2000 he became senior vice president of finance for the plc. But given the problems he is presently wrestling with, not many FDs will envy Hare his posting. Having been found guilty of irrational exuberance, that most heinous of corporate crimes by no less a sage than Alan Greenspan, the telecoms market now appears to be doing its best to drag the world into recession.
Closer to home Marconi has its own problems too. To pick just a few lowlights from the company’s July trading statement: ‘exceptional restructuring costs … further deterioration in market conditions … continued pressure …’ For Hare, it may get worse before it gets better.
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