Plot to oust Healthcare Locums chair

THE SUSPENDED executive vice chairman of Healthcare Locums, the medical staffing firm, has resigned and launched a bid to sack the chairman that disciplined her.

Kate Bleasdale, who is also the founder of the company, has used her 11 per cent stake in the business to call an extraordinary general meeting to oust chairman Alan Walker, following his decision to suspend her after “serious accounting irregularities” were discovered at the firm.

Several other key shareholders, including Permian Master Fund, have backed the meeting which proposes that Walker and all other directors are replaced.

The investors, who together represent over 30 per cent of voting rights in the company, have lost faith in the board following a steady decline in share price.

Healthcare Locums said the development was “an welcome distraction” with “only minority support.”

The meeting could result in the appointment of Andy McRae, the head of Healthcare Locums’ Australian business, as chief executive.

McRae previously worked for Bleasdale as her chief operating officer in 2009.

Michael Sinclair, whose Sinclair Montrose family investment vehicle has links to businesses previously ran by Bleasdale, could replace Walker as non-executive chairman.

Healthcare Locums suspended Bleasdale, as well as finance director Diane Jarvis, at the end of last month.

The company launched an investigation into accounting irregularities relating to its financial performance last year.

The latest turmoil at the recruiter has raised concern amongst analysts.

Adrian Kearsey, analyst at Evolution Securities said: “Evidence of infighting and possible interruption to the investigation that this brings could well further damage the operational performance of the business.”