City & Corporate: Rentokil hires Williams to mend City reputation

FTSE 100 group Rentokil Initial has poached Cookson IR manager Lisa Williams to manage relations with financial analysts as the hygiene services and security firm tries to prop up its battered City image.

Williams, who has handled IR for ceramics, electronics and precious metal technology business Cookson for six years, will join Rentokil at the beginning of next month as IR manager.

Rentokil IR executive Fay Wild, who has been covering investor relations responsibilities since the internal promotion of IR executive Stuart Rutherford, said Williams' appointment was intended to boost the profile of Rentokil's most senior IR post.

Rutherford is now executive assistant to security division MD Clive Ward.

Although Williams will be Rentokil's only full-time IR practitioner, Wild said Williams would decide whether to appoint extra staff. Williams will report to group director of corporate affairs Charles Grimaldi.

Last month, Rentokil appointed Aegis Group chief executive Doug Flynn as CEO. Rentokil had been searching for a chief executive since James Wilde quit last July.

Wilde's exit followed the ousting of chairman Sir Clive Thomson in May after the company issued a profit warning and watched its share value plunge.

Plans to remove Thomson - once dubbed 'Mr 20 per cent' for his profits record - led to the hire of Brunswick last May to handle PR alongside Catullus Consulting (PRWeek, 28 May 2004).

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