Beleaguered WH Ireland confirms CEO

Wealth manager saw previous CEO and another senior executive depart within a week of each other

WH Ireland has confirmed that acting CEO Phillip Wale has been granted approval to become the firm’s top boss with immediate effect.

Wale joined the firm in July from Cantor Fitzgerald Europe where he was head of fixed income to replace outgoing chief executive Richard Killingbeck (pictured) who made a quick exit as WH Ireland reported a £1.6m loss for the year.

A week before Killingbeck departed, group head of wealth management Roddy Buchanan also left the firm over a difference of opinion regarding the strategic direction of the private wealth management division.

The departures of two of WH Ireland’s most senior figures prompted one of its largest shareholders, Kuwaiti European Holdings, to divest its entire 23.1% stake in the business.

Polygon Global Partners, Oceanwood Capital Management and M&G Investment Management are currently the largest institutional shareholders in the business, owning 66.64% in total.

Internal restructure

WH Ireland has endured a series of drastic restructures and internal reorganisations over the past five years under Killingbeck, who was promoted to the top role just three months after joining the firm as head of private wealth management in September 2012.

The group ditched its Birmingham-based derivatives business and other underperforming segments and refocused its efforts on corporate broking and private client wealth management.

Killingbeck also scrapped the firm’s existing management team and the majority of the board after the Financial Conduct Authority fined WH Ireland £1.2m for failing to protect against the risk of market abuse that happened during the first six months he was at the helm.

Bright future

WH Ireland chairman Tim Steel said the company’s future looked bright under new CEO Wale.

“I am delighted that, following FCA approval, Phillip Wale has agreed to assume the role of chief executive officer of WH Ireland and I look forward to the future for the company under his leadership,” he said in a stock exchange announcement on Wednesday.

The Aim-listed manager’s shares were trading at 94p on Wednesday morning. They are down 21% year-to-date.

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