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Amigo CEO and chairman quit as founder returns

Benamor, who founded the guarantor loans lender in 2005, staged an apparent boardroom coup on Monday through his family investment office

Amigo Holdings PLC - Amigo’s founder pushes out CEO, chairman with coup
Not real footage from Amigo's boardroom

Amigo Holdings PLC’s (LON:AMGO) chief executive and chairman have given their notice after founder James Benamor returned to the board.

Benamor, who founded the guarantor loans lender in 2005 but stepped back from day-to-day business in 2015 and resigned as a director not long after last year's initial public offer, forced his way back on Monday as a non-independent, non-executive director.

READ: Amigo climbs back up with mixed results

Via his Richmond Group vehicle, which provides early-stage financing to SMEs and owns 60.66% of Amigo, Benamor has been pushing for a board change in recent months as the lender has faced takeover speculation after its shares lost around three-quarters of their value since floating in June last year.

The company said in an update on Monday that chief executive Hamish Paton, chairman Stephan Wilcke and chair of the remuneration committee Clare Salmon have offered their resignations en masse, with effective leaving dates to be confirmed.

Benamor will be joined by Richmond Group executive Kelly Black as a non-independent, non-executive director, once the company has recruited another peer to maintain balance.

Black was also in Amigo’s founding team where she held a number of senior positions.

Amigo embarked in a transformation programme in August and recently was given some feedback from the Financial Conduct Authority over areas for improvement, such as increasing the explanation of key information provided to potential guarantors and disclosure on the likelihood that guarantors could be called to make payments. 

The founder's return “is likely to create further uncertainty, and raise questions as to the intentions of the Richmond Group,” analysts at Peel Hunt said in a note on Monday.

Broker Shore Capital suggested recently that Benamor's renewed interest “could be a precursor to corporate action and we wonder whether Richmond may be wanting closer involvement with the group ahead of potentially taking the company private again or seeking a third-party buyer”.

Shares rose 10% to 66.58p on Monday at noon.

Quick facts: Amigo Holdings PLC

Price: 50.2 GBX

LSE:AMGO
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £238.62 m
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