Arden chief makes a premature exit after Fairfax takeover plan stumbles

 
David Hellier
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STOCKBROKER Arden Partners said yesterday that its new chief executive officer Jeremy Grime is leaving the company after only four weeks in charge.

It is understood that Grime, who was promoted internally from the group’s financials team, wanted to pursue a merger with Fairfax, the boutique investment bank run by Stefan Allesch-Taylor. But his plan was scuppered when he could not take the rest of the board with him and in the end the strategic differences appeared too great for him to carry on in charge.

Arden’s statement to the stock exchange omits any mention of the strategic differences and advisers said they were unable to comment on the reasons behind the premature departure.

Grime was named as CEO designate in June but he only formally took up the role last month.

He had been a highly rated analyst in Arden’s financial services team, having worked previously for Collins Stewart and Altium. Some questioned his appointment at the time because of his lack of management experience.

He will be replaced on an interim basis by Jonathan Keeling who moved out of the job and became deputy chairman to order to focus on growing Arden’s Indian business.

Arden Partners in September warned that it was unlikely to meet earnings expectations for the year ending 31 October, because of challenging stockmarket conditions. Analysts had been expecting fiscal-year pre-tax profit of around £1.6m.

Since then Arden has raised around £120m for two companies, iEnergizer and KSK.

Keeling is determined to make a thorough review of the business but he has told friends that he doesn’t want the top job again long-term.

He is still committed to growing the group’s Indian business.

Fairfax was earlier this year the subject of speculation about a tie-up with Astaire. However, it never confirmed talks had taken place.