Belfast Telegraph

Biffa finance chief to take helm as boss plans to stand down

Ian Wakelin will remain as chief executive until a successor for Michael Topham is appointed.

Waste management firm Biffa has said boss Ian Wakelin will step down after nearly eights years, to be replaced by the firm’s finance chief.

The group said he will be succeeded at the helm by chief financial officer Michael Topham, who has been in the role since February 2013.

But Mr Wakelin – who told the board he no longer wants to hold a full-time role – will remain as chief executive until a successor has been appointed for Mr Topham, the group added.

He will be leaving a business in good health, the result of the growth strategy which he and his colleagues have been implementing for the last eight years Ken Lever, chairman of Biffa

Details of the change at the top came as Biffa reported a 32.2% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £59.6 million for the year to March 30.

Ken Lever, chairman of Biffa, said Mr Wakelin can feel “extremely proud of what he has achieved at Biffa”.

He said: “He will be leaving a business in good health, the result of the growth strategy which he and his colleagues have been implementing for the last eight years.”

He added he would leave the business in “excellent hands”, with incoming chief executive Mr Topham having played a key role in the development of the group.

“Moreover, he played a central role in, and has become widely regarded since, the group’s initial public offering,” said Mr Lever.

Mr Wakelin said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the last eight years and will leave satisfied that we have achieved a great deal, including successfully bringing the business back to the stock market.”

Mr Topham first joined Biffa in September 2010, when it acquired Greenstar UK, where he was finance director.

Before becoming finance chief in 2013, he held the previous roles of divisional managing director and divisional finance director.

Full-year figures for the firm show the group notched up an 8.8% rise in net revenues to £977.7 million.

It completed seven acquisitions in the year and added it has a “strong pipeline” of further takeover opportunities.

Shares fell 2%.

But analysts at Numis Securities praised a “solid” set of results and said the appointment of Mr Topham as incoming chief executive “demonstrates sound succession planning”.

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.

Popular