The finance chief of a major public finance initiative company has fallen on his sword after overseeing controversial changes in the company’s accounting policies.
The sudden departure of David Miller, Amey’s finance director, came as little surprise after the PFI support service company had been slammed by investors and analysts for its accounting policies under UITF 34.
But experts believed the controversy surrounding the changes could lead to a delay in other companies planning to make similar provisions.
As one senior PFI figure said this week: ‘Anyone changing their accounting policies will end up in the headlines at the moment.’
In March this year Amey unexpectedly revealed how it would account for costs incurred on bidding for PFI contracts, a move that sent shares in the whole sector into a nosedive.
Miller was responsible for overseeing the changes, but in a statement from the company, which is a member of the Tube Lines consortium currently finalising agreement on the part-privatisation of London Underground, he was said to be ‘leaving in order to further his career in other fields’.
He will be replaced by Michael Kayser, a management accountant and finance director at Doncasters Group.
Miller’s departure was criticised by one PFI commentator, who said: ‘It seems he was shot for doing what the financial markets generally applaud.’
But others were less forgiving – one expert complained the handling of the original announcement had taken the market by surprise.
‘If he had gone to the investors and told them what he was doing, it would have been fine,’ he said.
Amey would not make any further comment on Miller’s departure – the company is preparing to announce its half-year figures on 10 September.
When Amey announced the changes its shares slid 73% to 87.5p, before recovering to 130.5p. Last week the price remained unchanged following Miller’s resignation.
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