IG Group shares slid their most in nearly four years yesterday after Tim Howkins said he will retire from his role as chief executive and director in October.
The company also revealed full-year profits had been dented by the Swiss franc crisis earlier this year.
The financial spread-betting firm said Peter Hetherington, current chief operating officer and a board member since 2002, will be appointed as interim chief executive, subject to regulatory approval.
Howkins joined the firm 16 years ago. He spent seven years as chief financial officer and nine years as chief executive, building the company into the biggest spreadbetting firm in the UK.
“I don’t have any desire to work full-time again,” Howkins told City A.M.. “My plans are to travel and enjoy life. I’ve got a big sack of travel books in the living room to look through.
“I’ve got mixed emotions today. It’s a big change,” Howkins, in his early 50s, added.
In a statement, IG chairman Andy Green said: “The board is disappointed to lose somebody with Tim’s proven leadership skills but fully understands his decision.
“The board has commenced a thorough search and selection process for a permanent successor, and I am pleased that Peter Hetherington, who has been integral to the successful development of the company, has confirmed that he would like to enter this process.”
The news came as IG Group said pre-tax profit for the year ending 31 May fell 13 per cent to £169.5m, down from £194.9m a year earlier, after the Swiss franc turmoil in the currency markets back in January.
It is one of a number of brokers which were bruised after the Swiss National Bank scrapped its four-year old currency ceiling in mid-January, sending the Swissie as much as 39 per cent higher against the euro and leaving clients with heavy losses.
Shares lost 55p, or 6.8 per cent, to close at 752p.