Porta CFO steps down as merger date with SEC announced

Porta has announced the departure of chief financial officer Rhydian Bankes and said it expects its merger with SEC to take place on 3 September.

Bankes leaves the CFO role with immediate effect, but will remain at the group until 1 November to assist with the completion of the merger.

Porta chairman John Foley said: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rhydian for his many significant contributions to the group since joining in January 2016. He has been a valued member of the team and leaves us in a strong position as we embark on this next chapter in our story as SEC Newgate S.p.A. We wish him every success in the future."

Porta said a further announcement will be made in due course regarding the role of group chief financial officer.

London-listed Porta and Italian holding company SEC announced plans to merge in June, in a deal that values Porta - which owns PR shops Newgate, Publicasity and Engage Comms - at around £4.5m.

The plan is to float the combined operation on AIM.

The merger is set to create a business with global fee income of around €80m, with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, APAC and South America, and a workforce of more than 550.

Porta is not commenting on what the merger means for individual agencies at this point.

SEC – which acquired a 19.3 per cent stake in Porta for £3m in 2017 – includes London public affairs specialist Newington, plus agencies in Italy, Spain, Belgium and Germany.

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