Roberson shown inaugurating Speedy39s national distribution center stepped down following a slowerthatexpected fiscal first quarter for the UK39s largest rental company
Roberson, shown inaugurating Speedy's national distribution center, stepped down following a slower-that-expected fiscal first quarter for the U.K.'s largest rental company.

Speedy CEO Resigns after Slow Fiscal First Quarter

Mark Roberson, CEO of Speedy Hire, the U.K.’s largest equipment rental company, is stepping down after a slower-than-expected start to the company’s fiscal year, Speedy announced. The fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2016, started slowly, partly caused by poor customer service as a result of disruptions during the implementation of a new IT and MI system, according to a board-initiated review.

According to the board’s review, a lack of available equipment during the network optimization program, and a focus on strategic accounts at the expense of SME customers also contributed to the slow start.

While core trading across strategic accounts remains strong, the company said, without an improvement in revenue trend, and ahead of any delivery of the remedial programs, the result for fiscal year 2016 will be materially below the board’s expectations and below FY 2015 results.

Russell Down, group finance director, was named CEO effective immediately replacing Roberson, and will retain the finance role until a replacement is appointed. Ian Astrand, who was appointed non-executive chairman in late 2015, has assumed the role of executive chairman and will revert to non-executive status by November 2015 when first half results are reported, the company said.

“This is extremely disappointing,” said Astrand. “I believe that Speedy remains a fundamentally good business but whilst some progress has been made over the last year, the remedial action programs have not been delivered as needed. Our immediate priority is to accelerate the execution of those programs and realize the upside we believe they will deliver over the medium term.”

Speedy’s board also said negotiations to sell the company’s remaining oil-and-gas business in the Middle East have been discontinued. The board will continue to evaluate options for its Middle East business, which is operating at a break-even level.

Speedy is based in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, U.K.

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