Accrol CFO quits amid FCA investigation

A day after it revealed it is being investigated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Blackburn-based tissue maker Accrol Group said on Tuesday its chief financial officer (CFO) Steve Townsley has stepped down for health reasons.

Meanwhile Accrol’s shares recovered some lost ground as it gave an update on its its turnaround plan in its half-year results.

Hannah Argo, who joined Accrol on January 10, 2019, has been appointed interim CFO.

Argo previously held senior financial roles at Alliance Boots, Robert McBride and Tulip UK.

Accrol chairman Dan Wright said: “Hannah is a proven and dynamic CFO with excellent communication and motivational skills.

“She is a strategic thinker, who is equally at home with the operational details.

“Her all-round business knowledge and a strong commercial focus are well suited to the group’s current needs …

“On behalf of the board, I thank Steve for the short but important role he has played in the turnaround of the group. We wish him well.”

The Accrol board now comprises executive chairman Dan Wright, CEO Gareth Jenkins, Euan Hamilton (non-executive) and Simon Allport (non-executive) and it plans to find a permanent CFO in due course. 

Accrol said on Monday the FCA “commenced an investigation into the company relating to certain statements that it made to the market between 1 April 2017 and 20 November 2017.” 

On Tuesday, Accrol announced half year results for the six months to October 31, 2018, showing reported revenue fell 20% to £57.6 million.

Accrol executive chairman Dan Wright said: “The business has changed beyond recognition since February 2018 and will exit the current financial year in a much stronger position operationally than it has ever been in before.

“We have delivered a highly complex restructuring, whilst absorbing a 29% increase in average tissue prices and now expect to deliver profit for the full year to 30 April 2019.

“Knowing the scale and complexities of the task in hand, I am very pleased with the outcomes achieved internally to date. 

“My only disappointment is that, as previously announced, we are, in effect, three months behind where we expected to be on the financial recovery …”

Accrol CEO Gareth Jenkins said: “This is one of the most challenging business turnarounds in which the leadership team and I have ever been involved.

“Whilst most of the issues we have faced are familiar to the team, it is highly unusual to face so many issues in a single business, at the same time and at such a pace. 

“I am pleased to say that the major actions are now behind us and we are beginning to see results. 

“We will never become complacent; ongoing success in the tissue conversion sector requires nothing less than operational excellence. 

“As a board, we are convinced that we have created a more robust business with strong foundations on which to build and, whilst I am sure there will be challenges ahead, the group is on a significantly improved path.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.