Kate Bleasdale leaves Healthcare Locums board after chair quits

KATE BLEASDALE has quit her post as director of Healthcare Locums, the staffing firm she founded.

She had been suspended as

executive vice-chairman after “serious accounting irregularities” were discovered at the company last month.

Her attempt to oust the board has also been dropped after the chairman who suspended her stood down late last week.

Bleasdale had used her 11 per cent stake in the business to launch a bid to remove chairman Alan Walker.

The extraordinary general meeting to vote on the decision, as well as other board-level changes, has now been scrapped.

Former Standard Chartered banker Peter Sullivan was installed as the new chairman of the medical recruitment firm without the backing of shareholders last Friday after Walker bowed to pressure and stepped down.

David Henderson, a former banker at Kleinwort Benson, was also appointed to the board as a senior non-executive director.

Sullivan addressed employees for the first time earlier this week, as the company tries to stabilise itself following weeks of turmoil.

However, the internal investigation – which is said to be near completion – could throw up new issues for the firm following its publication.

A separate external probe by legal-firm Zolfo Cooper will also report in the coming weeks.

Kate Bleasdale first founded Healthcare Locums in 2004.

A serial entrepreneur, she graduated as a nurse in 1983 but left the NHS in 1987 to found recruitment agency Match Healthcare.

The firm grew quickly and had revenues of £185m by the time Bleasdale was dismissed in 2001.

She filed a sex discrimination claim against chairman Sir Tim Chessells, hitting the headlines in 2002 when she walked away victorious with a £2.2m payout.

She used the money to start Healthcare Locums, which floated on the Aim exchange in 2005. DIARY: P8