Brierley steps down as GPG chairman, stays on board
By Paul McBeth
Dec. 10 (BusinessDesk) – Ron Brierley has handed over the reins of Guinness Peat Group, relinquishing his role as chairman, though he’s staying on the board.
Two and a half months after investors forced the board to back down from carving up the business and divvying the spoils, Brierley will hand over the reins to Mark Johnson at the close of business today. Johnson is one of four independent directors brought in to help develop a new strategy for the ailing investment company. Brierley will stay on the board as an independent director.
“I am delighted that Mark has accepted the board’s invitation to become the next chairman of GPG,” Brierley said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. “He has extensive experience and is highly regarded within the international business community.”
Brierley foreshadowed his exit in 2008, saying he planned to step down this year, though this was put off as the company struggled to make a return to shareholders. That led to a boardroom stoush, with New Zealand director Tony Gibbs resigning after he publicly spoke out against the move to split the company up.
GPG subsequently shut its New Zealand office, with Brierley saying the country offered “little or no opportunities” for the company.
The shares, which peaked in the middle of 2006 at $1.80, last traded at 70 cents having declined 8.3% this year.
GPG’s new chairman Johnson said the board is still mulling the company’s strategic options and will update shareholders at the February result.