Shock departure of WH Ireland boss causes shares to plummet

Michael Bow
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CITY broker WH Ireland saw its share price collapse yesterday after the sudden departure of its chief executive Paul Compton.

The group, which helped found the Manchester Stock Exchange in 1836, crashed 27.5 per cent after announcing Compton had left the business with “immediate effect”.

It did not give further details. A spokeswoman for the firm said it could not reveal why Compton had left.

The company’s head of private wealth management Richard Killingbeck, who joined the business last month, will replace him as acting chief executive.

Chairman Rupert Lowe, the former chairman of Southampton FC, will also lend a hand.

WH Ireland floated on the junior stock market in 2000 and had been performing modestly recently.

It posted a slight fall in pre-tax profits in its last set of interim results, despite the ravages of lower market volumes and investor sentiment.

Compton directly owns around 1.2m of the 23.7m shares in issue, according to the firm’s website. This equates to around five per cent of the business.

The firm’s investor relations department did not comment on whether Compton still owned these shares now he had left.

Killingbeck previously held senior management positions at Close Brothers Asset Management and Credit Suisse.