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Passport maker De La Rue replaces chairman after activist pressure

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Passport and bank-note maker De La Rue has appointed a new chairman as it looks to steady the ship following activist pressure.

It has announced that Kevin Loosemore will join the company from FTSE 100 firm Micro Focus, taking over from Philip Rogerson who will leave the firm after seven years.

The departure of Mr Rogerson follows attacks from activist investor Crystal Amber, which said he had “overseen the destruction” of shareholder value in a July statement.

De La Rue hit back at its third biggest investor and described its threats against the former chairman as “precipitous and destabilising” for the company.

Mr Loosemore will take over the role with immediate effect, the company said in an announcement on Monday.

The move is part of a major reshuffle at the FTSE 250 company which saw former chief executive Martin Sutherland quit in May following a string of profit warnings.

De La Rue became the target of activist pressure in recent months, following the slump in profits and its failure to win the contract to print Britain’s new blue passports last year.

Last month, the bank-note maker also saw shares dive after the Serious Fraud Office said it opened an investigation into “suspected corruption” related to business in South Sudan.

The company is still looking to improve profitability and is also still chasing an £18 million bill which the Venezuelan government has not yet paid.

Former De La Rue chairman Philip Rogerson (De La Rue/PA)

Mr Rogerson previously said he would leave the company once he had earmarked a new chief executive.

Andy Stevens, senior independent director at De La Rue, said: “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.

“The other members of the board and I are delighted that Kevin has agreed to succeed Philip. De La Rue will benefit enormously from his experience.”