Business – ‘Quiet July’ theory shattered as FDs move

Retailer MFI and transport company National Express are among a rash of organisations to have lost their finance directors in the last week, bucking the trend of previous years that has seen few board-level finance moves in July.

According to financial recruitment specialists Michael Page Finance, July is normally a quiet time for FD movement.

But MFI Furniture Group FD Susan Murphy is leaving after 15 years in a boardroom clear-out in response to a profits slump. This followed a steep decline in sales which shows no sign of letting up.

Murphy follows the chief executive and former FD John Randall, who left MFI in February after 21 years.

National Express FD Colin Child also revealed he is leaving the transport group at the end of the month after six years. Child, who became finance director in 1993, is said to be keen to take on management of a business after playing an integral role in rescuing the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Also on the move is Cardiff council FD Keith Bray who is leaving the authority after six years. Bray was understood to have been given just 24 hours to leave his offices along with seven other Cardiff service directors after opting for voluntary redundancy during on-going reorganisation of council services.

Bray told Accountancy Age the move represented a new opportunity ‘to do something different’. His four assistants will manage the authority’s finance department until a successor can be found.

Meanwhile, Cable & Wireless Communications has found a new FD to head operations. Warren Tucker will join the group on 30 July from his post as financial controller at British Airway’s commercial division.

Additionally, J Sainsbury FD Rosemary Thorne has agreed to delay her departure from the troubled supermarket group for a few months as it has been unable to find a successor.

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