Crisis-hit retailer ‘looks forward’ despite investigations

Patisserie Valerie has appointed an interim chief financial officer as it continues to try and restructure the company after finding an accounting black hole which threatened the future of the company.

Nick Perrin has joined new chief executive Steve Francis, who has been in post for a fortnight.

Nick Perrin, interim CFO at Patisserie Valerie

They must shore up the retailer’s finances in the midst of uncertainty and several investigations into suspected accounting irregularities.

The police, the Financial Reporting Council and PwC, on behalf of the company, are looking into an apparent £40m black hole in Patisserie Valerie’s accounts which was discovered in October.

Former finance director Chris Marsh was suspended and has since resigned while chief executive Paul May also departed as the crisis mounted.

Steve Francis welcomed Perrin and said: “He brings with him the necessary experience to help strengthen the team as the company works tirelessly to put the events of the past months behind it and look forward to the future.”

Much remains unclear at the Birmingham-headquartered business. The appointment of Perrin was the company’s first update to the stock market in more than two weeks and its shares on the Alternative Investment Market have now been suspended for eight weeks.

The appointment of Perrin is a step towards a return to normality. He is experienced in multi-site, retail and leisure, having spent nearly six years with vet group CVS and before then he was the finance director of the Co-operative Group’s specialist retail division.