Quindell names new boss to unravel mess

Indro Mukerjee shows David Cameron around FlexEnable in Cambridge
EMBATTLED insurance outsourcer Quin­dell yesterday appointed tech develop­ment guru Indro Mukerjee as its new chief executive, two months after the departure of Robert Fielding.

The appointment was made public amid investigations by the Serious Fraud Office and Financial Conduct Authority into previous business and accounting practices.

The announcement ends 80 days of uncertainty for Quindell shareholders, who will be hoping this latest move signals a final turning of a corner away from a devastating period in the company’s history, which included the ousting of former chairman Robert Terry following a share selling scandal last November.

Mukerjee has a proven track record in the technology development sector, and is currently a non-­executive chairman at FlexEnable, the newly founded technology arm of glass­free electronics manufacturer Plastic Logic.

Once a high-flying success story, Quindell has experienced seemingly endless turmoil since being targeted by US investigative collective Gotham City Research in early 2014, the fallout of which wiped over a billion pounds from its value. Following a revision of accounting policies, Quindell revealed a post-tax loss of £350m for 2014 earlier this month.

“I’m of course aware of the challenges the company has been facing and respect the chairman, board and rest of the team for the way that they have been identifying the issues of the past, and dealing with them resolutely and rapidly,” Mukerjee said.

He is expected to take up the new role on 7 September. Quindell has also announced that Peel Hunt has replaced Cenkos as its nominated adviser and broker (nomad).

A nomad advises the firm on the appropriateness of an application to admission to AIM and subsequent guidance on all the index’s rules.

Who is Indro Mukerjee?

OXFORD-educated Mukerjee holds a masters degree in engineering science.

He is also a graduate of the Wharton Advanced Management Programme and is able to speak several European languages.

Mukerjee is the driving force behind launch of FlexEnable, which developed the world’s first fully flexible electronic paper display.

FlexEnable technology has also made strides in fully plastic, conformal LCDs as well as flexible sensors and smart systems, which have played an important role in the development of the much­-hyped wearables sector.

He accompanied Prime Minister David Cameron when he visited FlexEnable’s Cambridge engineering plant in the run-up to the 2015 General Election.

He is the co-­founder and chairman of the UK Electronics Skills Foundation, an award­ winning charity set up to help reverse the diminishing skills capability in the UK electronics sector.

The charity connects employers with students in schools and universities.

TIMELINE

APRIL 2014 Gotham City Research releases a devastating report attacking Quindell’s accounting methods. Its shares lose half their value, and the firm successfully sues.

JUNE 2014 Quindell announces it doesn’t meet the requirements for a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange. Shares fall a further 20 per cent following the announcement.

NOV 2014 Shares hit an 18-month low, and founder and chairman Robert Terry is ousted from the board following investor concern over a share-transfer agreement between himself, directors and a third party while sitting on price- sensitive information.

MARCH 2015 Australian law firm Slater & Gordon purchases Quindell’s professional services division for £637m. Incumbent chief exec Robert Fielding steps down.

JUNE 2015 The FCA opens an investigation into Quindell’s public statements regarding its accounts during 2013 and 2014.

5 AUG The SFO confirms it has launched a criminal investigation into Quindell. The Financial Reporting Council says it too will investigate the firm’s accounts.

17 AUG Indro Mukerjee is announced as the company’s newest chief exec. He will take up the role on 7 September.

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