Chris Davies.

Chris Davies.

Chris Davies has stepped down as CEO of the HSS Hire Group after last month’s warning that full year profits would be below market expectations.

Under his leadership, the group has pursued an active programme of branch openings and acquisitions, but was forced to target around £15 million (€20.5 million) of cost savings after a worse than expected August led to the profits warning.

At that time, the value of HSS shares fell by 35%, and the share price reached a low of 55p (€0.77) earlier this month before rallying slightly in the past two weeks. The original share price when the company floated in February was over £2 (€2.80) each.

Former chief finance officer (CFO) and chief operating officer (COO) John Gill has moved to become the new CEO, with Mr Davies staying on until the end of the year to help with a smooth handover.

Alan Peterson, chairman of HSS, said: “John’s record and strong leadership skills as both CFO and COO have ensured that he has been a central part of the board’s thinking on succession planning for some time.

“He has been closely involved in developing and implementing the group’s distribution and logistics strategy and is ideally placed to lead the rebasing of our cost structure and make improvements to operating margin. I’m confident that he will step up to the chief executive role quickly and effectively.

“Chris has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the business since 2006 when he led the company through a change in strategy and steered it successfully through the financial crisis.

“He is an excellent leader of people with very strong sales and marketing skills and on behalf of the whole company I would like to thank him for his professionalism, hard work and leadership and for the clear strategic direction that he has set for the group.”

A company statement added: “Under John’s leadership the company’s strategy will continue to focus on the successful roll out of the new style local branches and the development of the Company’s pioneering logistics and distribution network, including the opening of the National Distribution Centre in the first half of 2016 as announced at the interim results in August.”

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