Monday 19 August 2019

Provident Financial announces death of executive chairman Manjit Wolstenholme

The company said Ms Wolstenholme had “passed away suddenly” on Thursday November 23.

Provident Financial losses
Provident Financial losses

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Subprime lender Provident Financial has announced the death of its executive chairman Manjit Wolstenholme.

In a statement, the company said the 53-year-old had “passed away suddenly” on Thursday November 23.

Ms Wolstenholme joined the board in 2007, but was elevated to the executive chairman position in August after chief executive Peter Crook quit in the face of heavy losses and a string of profit warnings.

She also held a number of external positions, including non-executive chairman of housebuilder Cala Group, senior non-executive director of magazine publisher Future and senior independent director of student housing developer Unite Group.

Provident has appointed senior independent director Malcolm Le May as interim executive chairman, with the company continuing to hunt for a new CEO.

Mr Le May said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened. The thoughts of everyone at Provident are with Manjit’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.

“It was a great privilege to know her personally and to work alongside her over the last few years.

“She has shown exceptional leadership in stepping up to the role of executive chairman over the last few months.

“Manjit was known and respected for her achievements and championing diversity in British business, and we would like to pay tribute to her contribution to the business landscape.”

Ms Wolstenholme was previously a non‑executive director of Aviva Investors, a partner at financial consultant Gleacher Shacklock and the co-head of investment banking at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.

Future chairman Peter Allen said: “We are all shocked by this tragic news and our thoughts are very much with Manjit’s family at this deeply distressing time.

“Manjit has been a tower of strength and support to me and my colleagues, both personally and professionally, for many years.”

Phil White, Unite chairman, said: “This is terribly sad news and our sympathies are with Manjit’s family at this difficult time.

“It was a pleasure working alongside Manjit over the last seven years, and she will be very much missed.”

Responding to the announcement, Cala Group said: “She had chaired our business with dedication and professionalism since November 2015.

“Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with her family and loved ones during this terrible time.”

Provident Financial revealed last month that it would book heavy losses at its consumer credit business this year, but claimed that it is making progress with a turnaround plan.

As part of efforts to shore up the business, Provident launched a new home credit model in July with the aim of moving from self-employed door-to-door agents to full-time “customer experience managers”.

Shares in Provident, which has around 2.5 million customers, were marginally lower in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange.

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