UK OUTSOURCER Mitie has named accountant Phil Bentley (pictured) as its next chief executive, succeeding CEO and former FD Ruby McGregor-Smith, who will step down in December.
The news comes just weeks after the UK outsourcing group issued a profit warning triggering a 26% plunge in its share price on the day as the company warned that profits would be “significantly lower”.
McGregor-Smith, the first Asian woman to run a FTSE 250 company, has been with the troubled outsourcer for more than a decade having first joined as group finance director in 2002. She has served as chief executive since April 2007.
The outgoing CEO told the board late last year of her wish to leave so that the board could begin a search for a new chief executive. Last year McGregor-Smith became a Conservative peer in the House of Lords.
Bentley offers Mitie solid experience and knowledge of managing large public companies at a crucial time for the outsourcer, which is struggling in the current economic climate of austerity cuts and Brexit because a large portion of its work comes from the public sector.
Most recently Bentley has served as group CEO of Cable and Wireless Communications until its acquisition by John Malone’s Liberty Global. He previously ran British Gas, the UK’s leading energy and home services provider, for seven years. Prior to that, he held a range of senior management and finance roles at Centrica and Diageo. Much of his early finance career in BP was spent overseas. He is a qualified accountant and holds an MBA from Insead.
Under McGregor-Smith, revenues at the Bristol-based Mitie have grown from £1.2 billion in 2007 to £2.2bn this year.
Last month the company blamed “lower UK growth rates, changes to labour legislation and further public sector budget constraints” for the expected fall in its profits, which for the full year is now expected to be “materially below management’s previous expectations”.
Mitie is not the only UK outsourcing company facing a challenging time in the current climate. Capita shares fell 27% in a single day in September after it issued a profit warning, providing further evidence of a slump in outsourcing.