Amigo founder rules out starting rival firm as he aims for top job
THE founder of Amigo has quashed speculation that he could launch a competitor to take on the troubled high-interest lender if he fails to secure a third spell on its board.
James Benamor has demanded to be installed as chief executive as he seeks a comeback after resigning as a director for a second time in March.
Mr Benamor will call a shareholder vote on Thursday if his proposals are not met, but insists he will not compete with the business that he set up 15 years ago, should this gambit fail.
Glen Crawford, former Amigo boss, is currently expected to be reinstalled as chief executive at the firm once he receives regulatory approval, after a 16-month absence due to health problems. But Mr Benamor wants Mr Crawford to instead run only the firm’s subsidiary, which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Mr Benamor also demanded that Roger Lovering, interim chairman, be sacked. He wants Nayan Kisnadwala, chief financial officer, to be replaced by a “capable” successor within 30 days.
The move sparked speculation from analysts at Goodbody that Mr Benamor’s Richmond Group could launch a rival firm once its Amigo shareholding fell below 10pc, as it would then be free from a non-compete clause.
Richmond Group already has an international guarantor lending business. Mr Benamor said: “Richmond Group has no plans to launch, fund or invest in any … regulated competitor to Amigo.”
Responding to Mr Benamor’s demands yesterday, Amigo said that Mr Crawford had told the board he was not prepared to work for the firm in any circumstances where the founder returned to a position of influence.
Amigo lends up to £10,000 to borrowers with low credit ratings, provided a friend or relative agrees to step in if they fail to repay.
Its board has agreed that Mr Crawford can terminate his contract if Mr Benamor succeeds in winning a seat at a shareholder vote, the company said.
Mr Crawford’s return as chief executive was predicated on Mr Benamor’s declaration that he was selling down his entire 61pc shareholding, Amigo added.
Responding on Twitter, Mr Benamor said that the chances of Mr Crawford resigning if the proposals were voted through “are roughly 0pc”.
Mr Benamor has been selling his shares since he failed to oust the previous bosses at a vote in June, in which he agreed not to vote.