CEO steps down

Black quits John Menzies just six months into top job

Forsyth Black

Forsyth Black: company veteran

John Menzies is seeking a new chief executive after it was announced that Forsyth Black is stepping down with immediate effect after just six months in the job.

He is the second CEO in recent times to leave the company after a short tenure. Jeremy Stafford resigned in 2016 for what was described as personal reasons after just 15 months in the post.

Mr Black took up his current post last September and had been president and managing director of Menzies Aviation for three years.

During his 19 years with the Group, he has been behind the revival of the Menzies Distribution business prior to its sale last year and the transformation over the last three years of Menzies Aviation having built a solid platform for the future.

The Edinburgh-based company said Mr Black “leaves us with our best wishes as he moves on to pursue the next stage of his career.”

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In a brief statement the board said it will continue to focus the business on organic growth to ensure the delivery of shorter term shareholder value.

“The board will now undertake a thorough process to appoint a new chief executive officer who will prioritise growing the underlying business in what is an exciting growth market. We will work with external recruitment consultants to look at both internal and external candidates as part of this process.”

Giles Wilson, who has been chief financial officer, will assume the position of interim chief executive. He has been with the group for eight years filling a variety of senior finance and operational roles.

Dermot Smurfit, chairman of John Menzies, pictured, said: “We would like to thank Forsyth for his dedication to the group for the past 19 years and we wish him all the best for the future.

“Led by Giles, we are confident that the strong and experienced team we have in place will move the business forward in the short term. Simultaneously the Board will immediately undertake a thorough search for a new CEO, both internally and externally.”

Annual results

Menzies announced that group performance in 2018 improved with underlying operating profit from continuing operations up 4% (8% in constant currency) and underlying profit before tax up 4% (10% in constant currency).

The improvement was particularly a result of increased cargo tonnage, an extra month of ASIG trading and realisation of synergies, strong de-icing performance in EMEA and increased cargo forwarding volumes. The group reported a profit before tax from continuing operations of £21.6m (2017: £9.9m) with stronger trading profit further enhanced by the non-recurrence of 2017 exceptional costs relating to the ASIG acquisition and integration.

As announced at the time of the sale of Menzies Distribution the board intends to hold the total paid and proposed dividend for the year in line with the previous year.

Therefore, the board has proposed a final dividend of 14.5p per share, which is payable on 1 July to all shareholders on the register at 24 May, bringing the total paid and proposed dividend for the year to 20.5p per ordinary share. The board will look to have a progressive dividend policy with dividend cover between two and three times.

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