Inchcape’s finance chief resigns after a ‘lapse of judgement’ at event

Motor dealership Inchcape’s finance chief Gijsbert de Zoeten resigns after a ‘lapse of judgement’ at an event

  • The FTSE 250 firm did not go into massive detail about de Zoeten’s departure
  • It added that his resignation was unrelated to the company’s financial results 
  • Founded in Calcutta in 1847, Inchcape sells cars across more than 40 markets

Exit: Inchcape’s finance boss Gijsbert de Zoeten (pictured) has resigned following a ‘lapse of judgement’ at a recent event

Inchcape’s finance boss has stepped down from his position following a ‘lapse of judgement’ at a recent event.

Gijsbert de Zoeten has voluntarily resigned as chief financial officer after just over three years at one of Britain’s biggest motor dealership chains, which celebrates its 175th anniversary this year.

He previously held the same role at Dutch automobile fleet management firm LeasePlan and the European division of consumer goods giant Unilever, where he spent 27 years in total.

The FTSE 250 business did not go into considerable detail about his departure or where the alleged misconduct occurred, except to say he had exhibited behaviour that fell ‘short of the high standards expected of the leadership.’

It added that his resignation was unrelated to the company’s financial results, strategy or the proposed £1.3billion purchase of Derco, Latin America’s largest independent motor seller.

Later today, Inchcape is also due to publish the circular on the Derco acquisition, where it is expected to uphold the set timetable for finalising the transaction and its full-year outlook.

Adrian Lewis, the group’s financial controller, has been announced as de Zoeten’s interim successor while the search for a permanent replacement is conducted.

Inchcape shares were 3.9 per cent lower at 844.5p during late Monday afternoon, although their value has risen by approximately 43 per cent in the past two years.

Like other British car dealerships, the London-based company benefited from a release of pent-up demand last year as customers with extra savings sought to upgrade their cars.

On top of this, semiconductor shortages and other supply chain crunches have led to a global decline in vehicle production, driving up the prices of both new and secondhand motors.

Its third-quarter results published last month showed total organic revenues growing by 16 per cent year-on-year, helped by stronger performances across all regions, record order books across some territories and .

Inchcape, founded in Calcutta in 1847, sells vehicles across more than 40 markets, including the UK, where it operates about 100 sites, selling over 80,000 cars each year from brands like Porsche, Mercedes, Jaguar and Lexus.

Following the invasion of Ukraine in February, the firm sold its Russian assets, which had generated £740million in revenue the previous year, around 10 per cent of its total business.

The company has said it expects to incur an estimated non-cash loss before tax of £240million from the transaction, with about £140million deriving from foreign exchange translation losses.

In spite of this, Inchcape raised its full-year earnings forecast, telling investors that it expects adjusted pre-tax profits from continuing operations either towards the top end or ‘slightly above’ its £350million to £370million guidance range.