Wednesday 24 April 2019 12:00 pm

Interserve finance boss throws in the towel weeks after administration

Interserve’s finance chief will quit the company just weeks after it fell into the hands of its lenders having buckled under the weight of a £730m debt pile.

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Mark Whiteling, chief financial officer at the outsourcing giant for just 18 months, informed colleagues this week that he plans to leave the firm in favour of a portfolio career as a non-executive director, according to Sky News.

City A.M. understands Whiteling has been lining up such a move for several months, and that now the firm has manoeuvred through a brief administration and subsequent delisting from the FTSE 250 in March, he has made the decision to move on.

A spokesperson for the firm was not immediately available for comment.

Workers at the NHS and the Foreign Office are among the outsourcer’s 39,000 UK employees, and 70 per cent of its annual £2.9bn turnover comes from the government.

Whiteling is currently a non-executive director at Connect Group, a magazine and newspaper distributor. 

Finding a replacement finance chief will add to chief executive Debbie White’s list of concerns, as she continues trying to guide it through a major restructuring process, in which she has streamlined the firm’s business divisions from more than 40 to just three.

Interserve’s financial troubles were in part down to a series of disastrous jobs it took on in 2016 to build waste-to-energy plants, some of which it is still in the process of finishing.

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It emerged last month in an interview with the Times that Interserve boss Debbie White “did not know about the weakness in the balance sheet” when she took the job of trying to revive the outsourcer’s fortunes in late 2017. Whiteling’s appointment was announced weeks after White joined the outsourcer as chief executive.