Listed legal services provider Quindell has taken the stock market by surprise with the appointment of a new leadership team.
The group today announced the recruitment of Richard Rose (pictured) as non-executive chairman and Jim Sutcliffe as strategy director and deputy chairman.
Rose is chairman of internet retail group AO World and was previously chief executive at listed legal services business Helphire, while Sutcliffe is the former chief executive of insurance group Old Mutual.
The pair will be tasked with restoring confidence in the group after a series of setbacks triggered a collapse in the share price last year.
They will also need to pick up the outcome of an independent review by accountant PwC into the group’s business prospects which was ordered last year.
Former Quindell chairman Rob Terry left last year.
The appointments came as a surprise as Quindell had moved on Friday to dismiss speculation about new leaders and said there was ‘no certainty’ that any appointment was imminent.
As well as a new chairman and deputy chairman, Quindell has appointed Marisa Cassoni and John Tomlins as consultants.
Cassoni was previously finance director of the John Lewis Partnership and Royal Mail plc, while Tomlins has a background in the IT and financial services sectors.
Rose will receive options over 8.73m shares and Sutcliffe will receive options over 10.9m shares as part of the incentive package. Their appointment is subject to approval from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The company has also revealed that it is in exclusive discussions with ‘a third party’ about the possible sale of an operating division of the group. Talks are also underway with other parties about the possible disposal of other group assets.
Today’s announcement was accompanied by an update in which the board said trading in the business remains ‘robust’ in professional services.
The group’s revenue and earnings are subject to the PwC independent review of accounting policies and guidance will be given by the board following its conclusion.
Operating cash inflow for the second half of 2014 was estimated to be around £13m.
As at 31 December 2014, the group had gross cash of approximately £69m and drawn banking facilities of approximately £52m.
The share value responded well to today’s news, jumping 29% by 10am to 109p – its highest price since mid-November.