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Chaos reigns as Coms plc CEO tries (fails) to stage boardroom coup

London-listed biz questions chief's purchase of 20k shares

A senior level dust-up has erupted at Coms Plc with CEO David Breith trying to stage a boardroom coup, amid widening losses and a spat over Coms shares that he quietly bought.

The acquisitive London-based comms biz, which swallowed certain assets from Redstone and telephony player Actimax, confirmed the chaos in a stock market filing this morning.

The top line chugged along “in line with market expectations” during fiscal ’15 (which ended on 31 January, Coms said in the trading update) but gross margin was lower in the second half of the year.

The restructuring process underway at the company failed to yield “anticipated realignment costs” and the board expects to “report a substantial loss… of at least several million pounds”.

Ouch.

“In light of this very disappointing financial performance, the board is reviewing the company’s strategy with the aim of ensuring that improved returns will be delivered across the business,” the update concluded.

As such, Coms has parachuted in Diana Dyer Bartlett as a non-exec director to “strengthen” the executive line-up. She has control of the “finance function” as permanent candidates line up for the FD role.

The listed business also revealed the board received a requisition from Breith to convene a general meeting to consider resolutions to “remove” Frank Beechinor and Bartlett as directors and to bring in Iain Ross, Neil Taylor and Brendan Loughrey.

This request for the meeting was then withdrawn by Breith, Coms confirmed in a second stock market filing today, revealing the extent of the chaos.

The update ends by revealing that Breith bought 20,000 shares in Coms in July 2014 – but that he only notified the board that he'd done so on 18 February.

“The board has since sought clarification from Mr Breith as to the circumstances and details of the dealing, including as to why no prior permission to deal was sought from the board, but to date no clarification has been forthcoming.

“The board will make a further announcement regarding this transaction as soon as full details are available,” it added. ®

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