Still no CEO for Premier Farnell

Still no CEO for Premier Farnell
Richard Wilson Premier Farnell has disappointed City investors with news that it has yet to find a new chief executive three months after the resignation of Howard Poulson following a profits warning. Results for 1997 were in line with that warning showing a one per cent increase in pre-tax profits at ?139m. Much of the City’s concern is that until a new CEO is appointed, Premier Farnell, one of the world’s largest component distribution groups, will not be well-placed to develop a strategy to cope with a semiconductor market which is facing a gloomy outlook. Premier Farnell’s deputy chairman and acting head, Morton Mandel, has said that the search for a CEO was “almost at the shortlist stage”. There are indications that the CEO will be expected to address the shape and organisation of the group’s Anglo-US activities. According to Mandel, there may be economies of scale in the firm’s global component distribution business which have yet to be tackled. Sales for the year were ?743.6m, of which 70 per cent comes from the group’s UK and US catalogue distribution businesses. Farnell’s UK-based catalogue business, which has sales of ?181m in Europe and the rest of the world, saw operating profit down 15 per cent at ?41.6m due to the launch costs of an industrial catalogue and effects from the strength of sterling.


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