Poole firm denies KPMG has taken over the company, but admits to several key changes at board level

Sunseeker hit back today at industry rumours that it had been taken over by KPMG, but did concede that a company restructuring expert had joined the board of the Poole boatbuilder.

The statement from Sunseeker comes in response to wild-fire rumours that the entire board had been deposed in some kind of palace coup. The company denies this is the case, but revealed that several key changes had taken place at board level.

Robert Braithwaite, majority shareholder and until recently MD of the firm, had his status as a director terminated in December. In a separate statement, he said this was due to a desire to change roles at Sunseeker.

“Over time I will be reducing my involvement in the day-to-day running of the business as MD and focusing more on our valued customer relationships and on steering the future of the Sunseeker brand,” Braithwaite said.

At the same time Braithwaite left the board, two new appointments were made: Stewart McIntyre was brought in as chief operating officer, and John Darlington, head of company restructuring at KPMG, was made chairman.

Further detail about the motivation for the changes was not available at the time of writing. The company is in no obvious financial difficulty; its most recent accounts, made to 31 July 2008, show an operating profit of £15.6m on a turnover of £293, while turnover is expected to exceed £300m for the year ended August 2009.

The full statement from Sunseeker reads:

“KPMG has not taken over the Company. John Darlington has joined the Board at the invitation of Robert Braithwaite to strengthen the management team, together with Stewart McIntyre who has recently joined as COO.

“Robert Braithwaite continues to be involved in the day-to-day business, and continues to be the majority shareholder. John Braithwaite will continue in his existing role as chief of design and development.

“No-one at Board level has either resigned or been fired. In fact, a new operating board has been established to focus on running the business, made up of the existing directors, Sean Robertson, John Darlington and Stewart McIntyre.”