Global Business

Hat Pin Accounting Woes Prick Two Top Execs

CEO and finance director of UK-based global search firm resign after reporting errors are detected at a unit.
Stephen TaubFebruary 11, 2008

UK-based global search firm Hat Pin plc said that it discovered accounting errors at one of its subsidiaries, and that its finance director and its CEO have resigned.

Hat Pin said the accounting errors are likely to cause the 2007 results to be materially worse than previously indicated. But it added, “There is no suggestion or evidence of fraud, or willful deceit.”

According to AccountancyAge.com, Hat Pin CEO Angela Campbell-Noë and financial director Paul Billet are departing. Hat Pin, which didn’t mention the names of the two in its press release, said that non-executive chairman Terry Hitchcock is taking the post of executive chairman.

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Hat Pin did not provide the reasons for the executive departures, saying only said that the two would resign on the day that preliminary results are announced.

The Independent, a publication in the UK, said no date had been set for that announcement, although it is usually in March.

Hat Pin’s press release said the company had requested a suspension in the trading of its shares on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange. “It is envisaged that trading on AIM in the Ordinary Shares will re-commence on the date of the announcement of the preliminary results,” the company added.

Hat Pin had warned on Jan. 21 that profits for 2007 would be around 25 percent below market expectations.

In the latest announcement, the company said it has been in discussions with its principal bank regarding ongoing facilities. It said that the bank has indicated that it wishes to continue to provide facilities, subject to the audit providing satisfactory answers to certain questions that have been raised by the bank.

Hat Pin operates through its trading subsidiaries, Akamai Financial Markets, Executive Access India, and Saxton Bampfylde Hever. It has 11 offices across markets in the UK, Europe, and Asia. It conducts executive search for senior management roles for a number of sectors, including Financial Services.

In December, Hat Pin had announced that it dropped BDO Stoy Hayward as its auditors, replacing it with PricewaterhouseCoopers. At that time, the company did not provide a reason for the change. Accountancy Age at the time quoted a Hat Pin source as saying: “That’s a matter between us and our previous auditors.”

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