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Hornby loses third chief executive in four years as Steve Cooke quits

By Chris Price

Troubled toy firm Hornby suffered a collapse in its share price on Monday after announcing it has lost its third chief executive in four years after Steve Cooke quit.

The model maker said its boss and its majority shareholder Phoenix UK Fund had “mutually agreed” he would step down.

It comes less than a week after the Sandwich-headquartered company issued yet another profit warning following poor sales over the summer.

Hornby has lost its third chief executive in four years

Hornby has lost its third chief executive in four years

Mr Cooke will remain chief executive for a transitional peroid while the company searches for a successor.

Interim chairman David Adams said: “The position of Phoenix as Hornby’s majority shareholder represents a new chapter in the development of the group and the board is working closely with Phoenix to set the direction of the business going forward.

“The board would like to thank Steve Cooke for his huge contribution to the group, in particular his leadership of the first stage of the turnaround that was announced to the market last year.

“We are delighted that Steve has agreed to remain in the post and effect an orderly transition to the appointment of the new CEO.”

Hornby has spent several years trying to turn around its fortunes after lower than expected sales from the London Olympics and issues with its former Asian supply chain.

Hornby makes model railways

Hornby makes model railways

It is in the middle of a two-year turnaround plan, which it had said was on course despite reporting widening annual losses in June.

The company, which also makes Scalextric and Corgi models, suffered a 15% collapse in its share price after it revealed its profit warning last week.

Shares fell again by about the same amount following Mr Cooke’s departure announcement, although they recovered in later trading.

It is presently around 29p.

Mr Cooke joined the business as chief financial officer in June 2015 and became chief executive in April last year.

He took over two months after the departure of former Ladbrokes director Richard Ames after issuing a third profit warning in five months.

Its largest shareholder Phoenix UK Fund – part of Phoenix Asset Management – increased its stake in the company to 71% after making a takeover bid in the summer.

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