By Steve Slater
LONDON Feb 22 Oriel Securities, one of London's
niche stockbroking and corporate advisory firms, said that Chief
Executive David Knox has left after only five months in the role
after a clash over strategy.
Founder and former CEO Simon Bragg will return as interim
Chief Executive with immediate effect, Oriel said in a brief
statement on Friday.
"This follows David Knox's decision to step down as a result
of divergent strategic ambitions," the statement said.
Oriel declined further comment. It said that Knox was not
available and he did not respond to an email.
Knox had clashed with one of the firm's major shareholders
over the development of strategy, a source familiar with the
company said. He declined to reveal with whom Knox clashed but
said that it wasn't Bragg, who owns about 10 percent of the
Oriel was founded in 2002 and is owned mostly by its staff.
The only major outside shareholder is Bim Sandhu, the CEO
and owner of property firm The Santon Group, who owns about 10
percent of the company and became a non-executive director in
March 2010. Sandhu could not immediately be reached.
Former or current employees who own between 3 percent and 8
percent each, according to filings at Companies House, include
Brendan Wilders, Mark Young, Eithne O'Leary and Emma Griffin.
Oriel poached Knox from U.S. bank J.P. Morgan last
June to head its equities business, but he was then named
interim CEO and the role became permanent in September.
Bragg returned from a sabbatical to be head of corporate
finance when Knox became CEO. In that role he took
responsibility for corporate clients.
Knox told Reuters in September that he wanted to attract
analysts and ramp up its coverage of larger firms to plug gaps
left by bulge-bracket rivals cutting back in Europe.
Oriel has about 135 employees and specialises in advising
mid-sized firms, with about 60 corporate broking clients.
It said David Robins would remain as chairman.