THE BOSS of the world’s biggest money printing firm was forced to resign yesterday after quality issues emerged at one of its factories.
James Hussey was muscled out despite assurances the problems would not affect any of the 150 world currencies De La Rue is responsible for.
However, the firm issued a warning that sales would be hit by the temporary suspension of printing at the plant, sending its shares plummeting 13 per cent to an 18-month low.
The FTSE 250 company said last month that its paper factory in Overton ground to a halt after flaws were found with a special type of paper which is then shipped elsewhere to make bank notes.
A spokesman said?production at its main plant had failed to meet “certain quality specifications”. He added: “De La Rue is confident that neither the physical security nor the security features incorporated in the paper have been compromised for any customer.”
The impact of the paper mill’s problem’s on the company’s finances was unlikely to be announced in the near future, De La Rue said.
Nicholas Brookes, non-executive chairman, has been appointed executive chairman, and finance director Colin Child has taken on the additional job of chief operating officer until Hussey’s replacement is named.
Revenues at the firm in the year to 27 March were £561.1m, up 12 per cent against last year’s £502.4m, while the operating profit margin, before exceptional items was 19.5 per cent, from 19.2 per cent last year.
FAST FACTS | DE LA RUE
The world’s biggest non-governmental money printer supplies currency to 150 countries.
The currency division delivers around 75 per cent of De La Rue’s group revenue.
De La Rue also sells tills to retailers.
DE LA RUE
James Hussey had worked for De La Rue for 25 years. He said his resignation was to "take responsibility" for problems "of a serious nature".
Hussey, 48, was managing director at De La Rue's currency division, before being appointed chief executive in January 2009.
His basic annual salary last year was £325,000 with a bonus of £126,000, according to a company spokesman.
Hussey was made chief executive after his predecessor, Leo Quinn, spun-off the company’s cash systems business, which sold tills to retailers, to focus on making bank notes and products such as cheques, holographic marks and tax stamps.
Hussey was seen as an industry insider with strong international contacts, which meant he was well placed to maintain the company's relationships with clients around the world.
Hussey also serves as a non-executive director at lottery operator Camelot. He read history at Trinity College, Oxford.
De La Rue finance director Colin Child will move up to chief operating officer to help pick up the slack.
Child joined De La Rue from DTZ Holdings, a global property adviser, where he was also finance director.
He previously worked as finance director of casino operator Stanley Leisure and has held similar senior finance positions at Fitness First and National Express Group.