Steve Corcoran, who had worked his way through the ranks to become chief executive in 2005, fell on his sword after the group said controls appeared to have been “repeatedly and deliberately circumvented”. He earned a basic £355,000 last year and is not expected to get a pay-off.
The division’s finance director has now been suspended, while other senior divisional management are under investigation. Addleshaw Goddard has been hired “to conduct an independent legal investigation”, while forensic accountants will shortly be appointed.
The group said: “The information currently available suggests that certain control processes within the international division have been repeatedly and deliberately circumvented.”
The shares will come under pressure on Friday after Speedy Hire said consensus full-year profits forecasts of £20.9m were likely to be hit by £3m, with earlier accounts also re-stated.
The group said the “accounting mis-statements are isolated to the international division and are not expected to have a material impact on cash”.
Last month the group said Mark Rogerson would be joining as chief operating officer, taking up his post on Monday.
He is now in the running for the chief executives job. Mr Corcoran will remain “with the business for a period to allow for continuity with customers, suppliers and employees”, Speedy Hire said.
The shares had closed down 0.25 at 64.5p.