G4S chief for Britain resigns from security group

Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:54pm EDT
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By Neil Maidment

LONDON (Reuters) - G4S (GFS.L: Quote), the world's biggest security services firm, said its UK chief executive Richard Morris had resigned and been replaced by the group's chief operating officer Eddie Ashton.

A company spokesman on Thursday confirmed a newspaper report on the resignation of Morris but declined any further comment.

Morris leaves at a time when the group is trying to recover from a series of damaging setbacks with the British government, one of its key clients, the latest being the discovery that it and rival Serco (SRP.L: Quote) had charged for tagging criminals who were either dead, in prison or never tagged in the first place.

That discovery has prompted the government to ask the Serious Fraud Office to consider carrying out an investigation into G4S. Britain has also put all contracts with the firm under review, with the outcome expected next month.

G4S has said it would reimburse any money that is owed on the tagging contract and will work with the government on the audit of all other contracts.

Morris had been with G4S for 10 years and in September 2012 took charge of a UK and Ireland business which generated around a quarter of the firm's 7.3 billion pound ($11.8 billion) revenue last year.

Ashton joined as COO from Deutsche Post DHL (DPWGn.DE: Quote) in July.

Morris's departure is the second for the UK division in just over a year after David Taylor-Smith left following its failure to supply enough security guards for the 2012 Olympic Games, an embarrassment that severely hit the group's reputation.   Continued...

A G4S security van is parked outside a bank in Loughborough, central England, August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples