RS Group CFO resigns over relationship with colleague

The chief financial officer of a major UK electronics company has resigned with immediate effect, after acknowledging that a personal relationship with a colleague showed “some deficiencies in judgement”.

David Egan, who had been with electronics distributor RS Group for seven years, stepped down as chief financial officer and director.

In a statement to shareholders of the FTSE 100 company, Egan said he had recently notified the company’s board of directors about a “personal relationship with a colleague”.

After a review by the board, Egan admitted to “some shortcomings in judgment on my part” and said his actions “did not meet the high standards expected of RS leadership.” The chief financial officer, who twice served as RS Group’s interim chief executive, said he believed it was right for him to resign.

The London-based company, which distributes electrical and electronic components to manufacturers, said it had appointed Jane Titchener, a senior member of its finance team and vice president of corporate development, as its interim chief financial officer until a permanent replacement is named. .

RS Group said Egan would remain available to the company for an “appropriate transition period”. Company president Rona Fairhead said the board had accepted Egan’s resignation. Fairhead, a former trade minister and former chairman of the BBC Trust, thanked her for her service.

It comes after former McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook was fined $400,000 (£328,000) in January by the US regulator for “concealing the extent of his misconduct” in a relationship with an employee.

McDonald’s fired the British executive in 2019 after directors discovered that he had failed to disclose a secret relationship with a senior company employee. McDonald’s accused Easterbrook of “poor judgement” and said he had “violated company policy.”

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it had fined Easterbrook because he had made misleading statements to investors about the circumstances that led to his firing. He said the company’s dishonesty with investors allowed Easterbrook to “retain substantial capital compensation that would otherwise have been lost.”

The SEC said it found Easterbrook to have violated the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. “Without admitting or denying its findings, Easterbrook has consented to the entry of the cease and desist order. and withdrawal from the SEC. , which imposes a five-year bar for officers and directors and a civil penalty of $400,000,” he said.

RS Group said there were no changes to its earnings forecasts since its last trading update published on April 5. However, its shares fell as much as 2.5% on Wednesday morning after Egan’s announcement, making the company one of the biggest losers in London’s FTSE 100 index of major UK companies. .

The company recently faced a drop in sales in the US, but forecast last month that its full-year operating profit would slightly exceed analysts’ expectations. It will report its annual results on May 23.

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