De La Rue set on Cobbold as its new chief

BANK note printer De La Rue is on the verge of appointing the group president of power company Choride, Tim Cobbold, as its new chief executive.

The appointment process is not yet complete and it could still be a few weeks before De La Rue makes an announcement but negotiations are believed to be at an advanced stage.

Sources close to De La Rue confirmed to City A.M. the company was in the final stages of talks with its preferred candidate. De La Rue has been searching for a new chief since James Hussey left in August after printing irregularities discovered at one of its plants threatened one of its biggest contracts.

De La Rue said yesterday it was still uncertain as to whether one of its biggest customers, believed to be Reserve Bank of India, would renew its contract after losing nearly a fifth of revenue and halving profit in the first half of the year due to faulty paper production.

Suspending production at its Overton plant in Hampshire in the summer cost the company £35m although this was in line with a profit warning issued in September.

“We have not heard whether we will continue supplying this customer,” it said.

First-half revenue was down 17 per cent at £209.2m, while profit before tax was £23.8m, down from £48m at the same time last year. The company also admitted there remained uncertainty over its full-year results.

TIME LINE | THE FALL OF DE LA RUE

1/1/2009
James Hussey replaces Leo Quinn as chief executive of De La Rue.

20/5/2009
De La Rue reports a modest rise in pre-tax profit of 5.4 per cent to £96.1m, reaping the benefits of a restructuring programme introduced by Quinn and cotinued by Hussey. The company also announces a five year extension to its contract to print notes for the Bank of England.

21/7/2010
De La Rue shares tumble 15.9 per cent after concerns are raised over quality and production irregularities come to light at its factory in Overton, Hampshire.

12/8/2010
De La Rue chief executive James Hussey quits the firm after 27 years in what is thought to be a last ditch bid to save a contract with the Reserve Bank of India believed to be worth up to 25 per cent of the company’s profits.

7/9/2010
A subsequent investigation finds some employees deliberately falsified important paper test results, leading to investigations by both the police and Serious Fraud Office. Shipments believed to be part of a contract with the Reserve Bank of India are suspended.

23/10/2010
De La Rue says it is close to appointing a new chief executive.