William Stobart will assume hands-on involvement in reviving the fortunes of Eddie Stobart, company bosses have revealed.
Confirming the appointment of the Mr Stobart as executive chairman of Greenwhitestar Acquisition Limited – the holding company for all of the trading entities within the Eddie Stobart group – company bosses said he would be taking “day-to-day management responsibility” of the company under new owners DBAY Advisors.
In an update on the London Stock Exchange, Eddie Stobart also confirmed that current chief executive Sebastien Desreumaux would be leaving the company at the end of December.
Mr Desreumaux, who only took on the role in August 2019, has already resigned from the board of Greenwhitestar and will leave the company at the end of the year, they said.
“The Board thanks Sébastien for his exceptional leadership of the company through its recent challenging period,” the statement added.
William Stobart – the fourth child of company founder Eddie – has been touted as key to DBAY’s ambition to restore the company to past glories.
In the lead up to its takeover – which was rubber-stamped on December 9 after a tumultuous few months for the Cumbrian-born logistics giant – DBAY said Mr Stobart would “work alongside the company’s existing management team” to boost its financial performance during the busy festive period.
Success during Christmas is being viewed as pivotal to the company’s long road to recovery.
On completing the deal DBAY and the company’s lenders – Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, BNP Paribas and KBC – injected £75 million of liquidity to Eddie Stobart.
Mounting debts, a £200 million IOU to its lenders, a £2m accounting error that resulted in its shares on the junior AIM stock exchange being suspended in August, along with a warning that losses for the first half of 2019 could be higher than £12m, combined to create a bleak outlook for the company.
Both the Eddie Stobart board and DBAY warned shareholders that the company was teetering on the brink prior to the vote which saw just over 80 per cent back the deal.
Alongside Mr Stobart, the deal also sees the return of DBAY as its owner, which now holds a 51 per cent stake in Greenwhitestar.
The Isle of Man based investment firm owned Eddie Stobart between 2014 and 2017, during which period Mr Stobart had served as executive chairman of Eddie Stobart Logistics Limited.
Completion of the deal ended hopes of another former Eddie Stobart chief executive’s bid to make an equally dramatic return.
High-profile businessman Andrew Tinkler failed in his attempt with an alternative proposal for the company.
He planned to inject £80m of equity funding – with around £10m understood to come from his own pocket – in a proposal he claimed was “not about building the business up with big, high-interest debts”.
After losing out Mr Tinkler left the door open to friend, business partner and former brother-in-law, William Stobart to lend a helping hand if it was needed.
“If they need me, they can call on me,” he said.
“It wasn’t a competition. The main thing is that the business has now got finance. It needs to move forward for the sake of its 6,500 jobs.”