I’ve been through hell, says Rok’s departing FD

THE finance director of building and maintenance firm Rok yesterday spoke of his eight weeks of “hell” as he stepped down from the firm.

“The whole experience has been hell. It’s put me through hell, its put my family through hell,” said Ashley Martin, as he reflected on the period since 11 August when he was suspended pending an investigation into alleged financial mismanagement at Rok’s heating, plumbing and electrical business.

Yesterday the company cleared him of any wrongdoing in a statement that said that the scaling back of sub-contracted work fitting out new homes with piping and heating was the cause for the previously lower profit expectations.

But Martin said he could not remain a member of the board of Rok after his fellow board members originally blamed him for the financial irregularities which led it to issue a second profit warning earlier this year.

“It was just untenable for me to stay [at Rok] after getting the blame for a profit warning. It has been insane. I spent 30 years building up my career. To have this done to you is terrible,” he said.

Martin said: “Reputation is everything in this business. If you haven’t got that you haven’t got anything.”

He added: “I’m glad the company have made the statement they have clearing my name but I have been negotiating my exit since the announcement of the profit warning. I think it’s clear I wasn’t going to be able to work with those individuals [on the board] again.”

Martin is believed to have left the group with one year’s salary believed to be in the region of £300,000 and his full share allocation of around 750,000 shares.