Irish-born Cotter hails from Royal Bank of Scotland where he was COO for
global business unit control. As a financial manager within its global capital
markets division, which he joined in 2007, he was heavily involved in the failed
acquisition and integration of ABN Amro.
The FD is tasked with focusing the business on cautious cash management. It
made a pre-tax loss of £15m in 2008 compared with a £79m pre-tax profit in 2007,
while revenues almost halved. It was forced to slash its final dividend to 1.3p
per share from 5p. Chief executive Mark Brown lauded Cotter’s experience in
“hands-on financial control in a range of financial services businesses.”
Cotter was CFO for Morgan Stanley Singapore between 1996 and 1998. At the end
of his 15-year career with the investment bank, he was European head of
financial, treasury and regulatory control. He qualified as a chartered
accountant in Ireland with Coopers & Lybrand in 1989, leaving for Morgan
Stanley in 1992.
Cotter’s appointment is one of several management changes. His predecessor,
David Lindsay, left the business weeks after it replaced chief executive Joel
Plasco with Brown last October. The company will not confirm or deny rumours
that chairman Terry Smith plans to step down, but Brown told Financial Director
that any change in chairmanship would not be “imminent”. Non-executive directors
Richard Kilsby and Iain Napier retired in June.