New Quindell deputy chairman Jim Sutcliffe to step down from the Financial Reporting Council

Emma Haslett
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Sutcliffe was appointed to the board of insurance outsources Quindell this week (Source: Getty)

New Quindell deputy chairman Jim Sutcliffe will step down from his role as chairman of the Financial Reporting Council's (FRC) codes and standards committee "with immediate effect", the organisation said today.

Sutcliffe was appointed as Quindell's new deputy chairman earlier this week, causing its shares to rise more than 26 per cent.

But the troubled insurance claims processor was criticised after it granted more than £25m in stock options to Sutcliffe and its new chairman, Richard Rose, with Sutcliffe receiving options to just under 11m shares.

The move is thought to contradict the UK's corporate governance code, which recommends non-executive directors don't receive options as part of their remuneration deals.

Given Sutcliffe's position on the FRC, the UK's financial reporting watchdog, the move was heavily criticised.

Tim Bush, head of governance at shareholder advisory group Pirc, told the FT it was "impossible to overstate how unacceptable this is".

2014 has been viewed as Quindell's annus horribilis: having begun the year as a stock market darling, it quickly ran into trouble after a mysterious US analyst, Gotham City Research, tore its strategy to shreds, claiming its shares should be worth no more than 3p.

Although Quindell later won a libel claim against the researcher, the damage had been done. By the end of 2014, the company had lost more than 90 per cent of its market cap, broker Canaccord Genuity had resigned, and Fidelity had cut its stake in the company in half, while founder and chairman Rob Terry had stepped down.

But the company's notoriously volatile shares bounced back this week following the appointments of Rose and Sutcliffe.

They were down a relatively muted 0.55 per cent in late morning trading, at 90.5p.

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