HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, UK

Patisserie Valerie chairman hires former SFO prosecutor as his legal counsel: report

The news came after their CEO Paul May resigned.

The chairman of Patisserie Holdings Luke Johnson has hired John Gibson of the American law firm Cohen & Gresser, according to a report by The Guardian

Gibson used to work at the Serious Fraud Office for five year and became the top prosecutor there. The Office started investigating Patisserie Holdings last October after discovering accounting irregularities.

The Group also just announced that they have agreed with their principal lenders in extending its consolidated, syndicated facility structure period until January 18 next year.

A few days ago, Paul May resigned as their chief executive officer, replacing him with Stephen Francis.

"I am delighted to welcome Steve Francis as new CEO at Patisserie Holdings PLC. He has a strong track record of restoring value in turnaround situations, especially in the food industry, and the board looks forward to working with him in the revival of the business," chairman Luke Johnson said in an announcement.

Francis has reportedly completed four successful operational turnarounds since 2005: Tulip, a farming business and producer of pork; print services firm Danwood Group, the Vion Food Group and Vita Group, a manufacturer of foam and plastics. He also held senior roles at Barclays Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers and McKinsey.

The announcement comes weeks after stakeholders backed a rescue deal for the company. Patisserie Holdings, which has more than 200 cafes and nearly 3,000 staff, was forced to raise capital after discovering irregularities that almost led to its collapse.

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