SSP Group earlier this morning has announced that CEO Kate Swann is stepping down to be replaced by Simon Smith, currently head of its UK & Ireland region. Shares immediately fell almost nine per cent on the news.
This morning also saw strong full year results that would ordinarily delight shareholders, and a further special dividend of circa £150m announced by SSP Group for the year ended 30 September 2018.
Commenting on the results, but not on stepping down, Kate Swann, CEO of SSP Group, said:
“SSP has delivered another strong performance in 2018. Operating profit was up 22.7% at constant currency, driven by good like-for-like sales growth, substantial new contract openings and further operational improvements.
“We have continued to expand our global footprint, materially extending our presence in North America, delivering excellent growth in India and entering the important Latin American region with two contracts in Brazil. The new business pipeline is encouraging and underpins our confidence in future growth.
“Our cash flow is robust and, in addition to investing £144m into the business this year, our highest to date, we are also returning c. £150m cash to shareholders.
“The new financial year has started in line with our expectations and, whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets.”