Merry times ahead at Tenon

THE FINANCIAL, restructuring and professional services skills accumulated by new RSM Tenon CEO Chris Merry will be put to the test over the ensuing months.

A chartered accountant and former Clifford Chance CFO, Merry finds himself in the top job at the listed-business advisory firm at what could best be described as a crossroads.

The last of the accountancy consolidators listed on the stock exchange, RSM Tenon has had a traumatic six months, culminating in the departure of chief Andy Raynor and chairman Bob Morton.

Despite turning over nearly £250m for the year ending June 2011, and profits of £30m, a series of profit warnings, structural concerns and the flagging up of accounting issues have led to changes in the board’s management team.

Revenues for the six months ending December 2011 are predicted to come in 10% lower than the same period a year earlier – which should see the firm post a loss. The costs associated with integrating big acquisitions including RSM Bentley Jennison and Vantis have eaten into the firm’s cash, and subsequently the P&L.

Merry is no stranger to turnaround roles.

Then FD of recruiters Whitehead Mann, Merry stepped up to managing director and then CEO after the company issued a profits warning in 2004 following a failed attempt to expand the business.

Aside from the focus on Merry’s future role, RSM Tenon’s recently appointed FD Adrian Gardner has already proved pivotal at the firm.

Having joined in October 2011, Gardner has been running a brush through the company’s accounts.

A likely restatement of its previous year’s results, flagged up in RSM Tenon’s last trading update, may well have proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as the existing management team was concerned.

The revision will include some non-cash restatements, while impacting on around half of the 10% revenue decline.


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