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Business Transformation Expert Engaged by Leading Pawnbroker

Business Transformation

Pawnbrokers Albemarle & Bond Appoint Business Transformation Expert

Ailing pawnbrokers Albemarle & Bond have appointed Colin Whip business transformation expert, to turn around their fortunes and get the business back on track. Whip is a Fellow of the Institute for Turnaround and joins as Chief Restructuring Officer following various positions with household names that include Procter & Gamble and Scholl.

At the same time, the business has appointed a new CEO, Chris Gillespie. Both will get to work immediately to reassure lenders and shareholders alike that they can turn around the struggling business. In a further change, Greville Nicholls reverts to his previous role in the business of non-executive chairman.

Dropping gold prices and rising competition have left the business adrift and needing to extend debts, having failed to secure additional finance to avoid breaches of covenants if a solution is not found by the end of this month. The share price plummeted to 36p from a 52-week high of 266p, although it is showing small signs of recovery in the light of Whip and Gillespie's appointments ? it has risen back to 45p.

From its lowly origins as a single shop 30 years ago in Bristol, Albemarle & Bond has grown and now has more than 140 stores nationwide. Now a major UK pawnbroker and buyer of gold and second-hand jewellery, they were at risk if gold prices fluctuated much, and indeed the shine has come off the business. This is despite the current economic climate and the business having diversified into offering cheque-cashing and short-term loans. The high-risk strategy of opening 25 new stores last year coincided with the gold price peaking, and with the current focus on pay-day loans and potential new legislation there are difficulties ahead.


Whip has an Impressive Record in Business Transformation

The two appointments mark the start of a new chapter for the firm. Whip has an impressive track record in delivering financial change in consumer-facing businesses. His experience covers both the public and private sectors, in both commercial and financial roles.

Gillespie's background is built on solid financial-services experience with companies such as Barclays, Bradford & Bingley and Provident Financial.

Whip will be looking to get going straightaway. As a Fellow of the Institute of Turnaround, no doubt he will be looking to personify the institute's goal of professionalising the business transformation. Appointing someone with his evident expertise should prove to be a shrewd move for Albemarle & Bond, particularly if he can create a turnaround that proves to be socially useful, as members of the IFT should.

Written by David Archer of Circle Square - Investment Banking Recruitment 

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