But Mayo, who announced his resignation as CEO designate of Marconi on 6 July, was conspicuous by his absence.
Sir Roger Hurn, Marconi’s chairman, quickly addressed the issue.
‘I haven’t seen him [Mayo] today and if he is here he must be standing in the hall,’ he said.
Hurn played down any speculation that Mayo had left the company on bad terms. ‘I want to make it clear that John Mayo worked honestly and tirelessly for the benefit of the company…there is absolutely no question of wrongdoing,’ he said.
Mayo bought an extra 200,000 shares in Marconi to show his confidence in the company just before his shock resignation, and he could have made life difficult for the board this afternoon. But it was unlikely that he would have rocked the boat this afternoon as his pay settlement has not yet been finalised.
Mayo stands to leave with an estimated Pounds 1m – the equivalent of one year’s salary and benefits.
Lord Simpson, who is likely to retain his position as chief executive for the next year, depending on the outcome of a poll of shareholders, said Mayo was a capable leader but his approach was inappropriate during these troubled times.
‘John was a very good choice as chief executive six or nine months ago but the industry has changed rapidly since then. The board now needs someone who can drive cash generation and cost reduction,’ he said. ‘But in the long term we will need a chief executive with some of the visionary qualities that Mr Mayo showed.’
- Tom Berry is deputy editor of Financial Director magazine.
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