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Channon ‘throws himself on sword’

Update: more on ilion CEO's sudden exit

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Wayne Channon has resigned as chairman and chief executive of troubled networking distributor illion group plc. Channon, who founded the company in 1989 is reported as saying that he recognised it was "time to go" before deciding to take the honourable way out. And although he took full responsibility for, in his words, "throwing himself on the sword", it seems that there were plenty of people around happy to sharpen it for him. Only last week the company announced that its pre-tax profit would be "materially below expectations" for the current year, ending 31 December 1998. A year ago the company warned that profits for the year would be down by around £2 million from £8 million. In September this year the company said performance was impaired by slower growth in the UK than was expected and by losses in some Continental subsidiaries. ilion's problems have been consistently blamed on slow sales and low profitability in the UK organisation. But today, the list of ilion's woes has grown longer with one spokesman blaming the company's poor performance on lack of expenditure by the City and on the strength of sterling. Channon's resignation has come as little surprise to industry watchers. "You simply can't escape the fact that the company has had three profit warnings in the last year," said one source. illion has been quick to replace Channon, whose departure takes effect immediately. Serge van Gorkum, who was Group Product and Marketing Development director until June this year but who left for "a holiday" has rejoined the company as group Chief Executive. As the founder of ilion's French subsidiary and a previous director of the company, he has a "deep understanding of the group's business", the company said. Existing non-executive director Michael Sayers has taken over the role of non-executive chairman. ®

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