CONTROVERSIAL Cable & Wireless Worldwide (CWW) boss John Pluthero sensationally quit the firm yesterday as it slipped to an eye-watering £443m first half loss.
The sum – equivalent to more than half of CWW’s market cap – coupled with the suspension of its dividend, sent is shares crashing more than 26 per cent.
Writedowns totaling £624m acted as a millstone around CWW’s neck, dragging it from a £53m pre-tax profit last year far into the red.
Revenues for the half slipped 4.5 per cent to £1.07bn.
The loss capped a torrid year for CWW. Pluthero returned to the helm, following a spell as chairman, after his predecessor Jim Marsh issued a third profit warning since the demerger from Cable & Wireless Group last year.
The mammoth task ahead of CWW was enough to convince Pluthero he was no longer the man for the job, with the avid modern art fan saying the company needed “continuity of leadership” to see out radical turnaround plans over the next three to five years.
He added he has no regrets over taking a £10m bonus from a private-equity style incentive plan in the three years before the business demerged.
Pluthero will be replaced by Gavin Darby, a former Vodafone big-hitter who faces the daunting challenge of spinning the wheel at the Titanic.