Monday 2 September 2019 7:18 am

De La Rue replaces chairman after investor pressure

Banknote and passport producer De La Rue has appointed a new chairman after months of investor pressure on its top level leadership.

Kevin Loosemore, who is also chairman at struggling IT giant Micro Focus, will take up the role with immediate effect.

Read more: Investor ‘threatens to oust chair’ at troubled printer De La Rue

The embattled London-listed company has come under attack from shareholders in recent months after its former chief executive quit earlier this summer, following the company’s failure last year to win the contract to print Britain’s new, blue passports.

Subsequently, former chairman Philip Rogerson said he would throw in the towel once he had found a replacement CEO, having served in the top job since 2012.

Rogerson leaves the company after a difficult period. Last year, the firm lost the contract to make British passports after Brexit. It has endured a spate of profit warnings and is still chasing an £18m bill which the Venezuelan government has not yet paid.

De La Rue makes almost one-third of the world’s banknotes, including those for the Bank of England.

Andy Stevens, senior independent director commented: “Philip has provided strong leadership to the board during the past seven years.  As chairman, he has overseen considerable strategic change within the company and has steered it through a number of successes and challenges.  

“Philip has had a long and distinguished career and on behalf of the rest of the board and all our employees, I thank him for his dedication and commitment to the company and wish him well in his retirement.”

Read more: De La Rue share price sinks 25 per cent as CEO quits after loss of passport contract

In its warning in June, De La Rue revealed a drop in profits, which it pinned on increased competition and a £18.1m loss that arose after Venezuela’s central bank was unable to pay it for note-printing services. It had made two profit warnings during 2018.

The 198-year-old firm last year lost the passport contract worth £490m to a European competitor. After being defeated by Franco-Dutch firm Gemalto, it sold off its passport-making arm for £42m to a Swiss firm.