Paul May has resigned as chief executive of troubled bakery group Patisserie Valerie, with turnaround specialist Stephen Francis drafted in to take up the position.
The resignation comes after historical statements of the cash position of the company were found to have been mis-stated and subject to both suspected fraudulent activity and accounting irregularities, including undeclared overdrafts amounting to £10m.
Former finance director Chris Marsh resigned in October after being suspended and later arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation.
Francis comes in two weeks after shareholders backed a rescue package for the chain that will see £15m of new shares issued to private investors following a funding injection by director Luke Johnson to the tune of £20m.
He has completed four operational turnarounds of multi-site, international businesses with revenues ranging from £2b to £200m since 2005. These have included pork producer Tulip Ltd, printing specialists the Danwood Group and Vion Food Group.
Patisserie Valerie chairman Luke Johnson said: "I am delighted to welcome Steve Francis as new chief executive at Patisserie Holdings PLC. He has a strong track record of restoring value in turnaround situations, especially in the food industry, and the board looks forward to working with him in the revival of the business."