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Crucial changes ahead

This month saw no fewer than five changes among the directors of hotel operator Crucial Plan. These changes – three resignations and two appointments – coincided with the purchase of almost 15% of the issued share capital of the company.

The departing directors are Roland Ayling, Martin Burrill and Ian Currie. Mr Currie had been chairman since July 2004 and is, inter alia, chairman of Stepquick and Strategic Retail as well as former chairman of Titan Move. Mr Burrill was formerly secretary and both an executive and non-executive director of Crucial Plan as well as finance director or director of many other companies. Mr Ayling was formerly executive director of Crucial Plan, as well as of Titan Move. The new non-executive directors are Peter Maddocks and Mike Neville. Mr Maddocks is also a director of Innofone Com, whereas Mr Neville is also chairman of Minmet, Telephonetics, Felix Group and World Television Group.

The month also saw the appointment of Lord MacLaurin to the board of Heineken. Lord MacLaurin is a highly distinguished director who currently serves as chairman of Vodafone (until July) and was formerly deputy chairman of Whitbread and chairman of Tesco. He is also currently senior independent director of Evolution Group.

It was also a busy month on the director transaction front, with several members of boards each carrying out relatively large transactions. The largest aggregate transactions were carried out by the directors of Diageo and Restaurant Group (in excess of £2m and £1m respectively). In both cases, the transactions involved the exercise of options and the sale of these options into the open market.

db May 2006

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