27 Nov 2009

Top-level changes at two companies

6:57 am on 27 November 2009

There are changes at the top of two of the country's more troubled corporates.

The chief executive at South Canterbury Finance, Lachie McLeod is stepping down at the end of the month, while Fisher & Payel Appliances chairman Gary Paykel will relinquish his position.

Lachie McLeod has led South Canterbury Finance through a torrid year. The troubled finance firm lost over $50 million, had its credit rating reduced, and breached its banking covenants.

It has recently taken steps to restore its financial strength, including appointing three new directors, who are developing plans to raise more capital.

Mr McLeod, who will be replaced temporarily by Timaru accountant, Nigel Gormack, says it's time for a new chief executive to guide the lender through its next stage of development.

He will stay on on as a consultant until a new chief executive is appointed, which he expects in three to four months, and will then act as consultant for Alan Hubbard, the owner of South Canterbury Finance, on his other business interests.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances

Fisher & Paykel Appliances chairman Gary Paykel will be replaced by Ralph Waters, but will remain as a director.

The whiteware manufacuturer has also had a tough year. It wrote down the value of its US-based operations, citing weak demand.

Earlier this year it raised over $200 million from investors to reduce debt. Chinese electronic and appliance maker Haier took a 20% stake.