Robinson linked to Rentokil job

Investors in beleaguered UK pest control-to-hygiene group Rentokil Initial are rumoured to want former Granada boss Gerry Robinson to take over running the company, it was reported today.

Investors in beleaguered UK pest control-to-hygiene group Rentokil Initial are rumoured to want former Granada boss Gerry Robinson to take over running the company, it was reported today.

A group of key shareholders are understood to have approached Robinson with a view to him becoming executive chairman.

Robinson, who recently stepped down as chairman of drinks group Allied Domecq, last month set up Raphoe Management as a vehicle for investing in under performing UK companies with inappropriate management or inefficient capital structures.

It is thought that if he did become chairman, Raphoe would buy up a 10% stake in the company.

A Rentokil spokesman said today: “We do not comment on press speculation and we have no knowledge of this prior to seeing it in the newspapers.”

Mr Robinson could not be contacted to comment.

Investors in East Grinstead-based Rentokil are understood to be becoming frustrated at the time taken to turn the group around.

The group’s profits fell by 25% during 2004, a year which also saw the departure of long-time chairman Clive Thompson and chief executive James Wilde, who had only held the post for 18 months.

Since then chairman Brian McGowan and new chief executive Doug Flynn have significantly increased investment in sales, marketing, service, IT and personnel in a bid to turn the company around.

But in May this year the group said profits had fallen by 16.5% during the first four months of 2005 as it continued to face challenges from a difficult, price-competitive market.

Shareholders will be hoping to see some improvement in the group’s fortunes when it reports interim profits on Thursday.

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