WPP Scangroup’s Board Suspends CEO Bharat Thakrar and CFO 

Scangroup to Pay KSh3.4bn in Special Dividend

Scangroup CEO Bharat Thakrar

WPP Scangroup‘s board of directors has suspended CEO Bharat Thakrar and the Chief Finance Officer, Mr Satyabrata Das facing allegations of irregularities.

In a statement, the Board said the duo will be investigated on allegations of gross misconduct and possible offences in their capacity as senior executives and employees of the company’

In the interim, the Board has appointed Mr Alec Graham as Chief Operating Officer to ensure the continued management of the company.

Alec has over 25 years of experience in the advertising and communications business working with various companies in the WPP plc group.

“In due course, the Board will consider the appointment of an interim chief financial officer of the company.”

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm is engaged in developing communication strategies, creating advertisements for products and services, planning and buying media, as well as providing marketing consultancy. 

Its current share price is Ksh 5.94.  It began the year with a share price of Ksh 6.00  but has since lost 1% off that price valuation, ranking it 34th on the NSE in terms of year-to-date performance. Shareholders’ worries are further compounded by the fact that SCAN has lost 6.31% of the stock’s value from January 21 to date.

Ownership 

Top shareholders at WPP Scangroup

92 per cent of WPP Scangroup is owned by 10 shareholders.

British firm Cavendish Square Holding is the largest shareholder with a 40.94 per cent stake, equivalent to 176,903,560 shares.

Cavendish sister company which is registered in Netherlands, Russell Square Holdings, holds a 12.33 per cent stake (53,290,883 shares) which was acquired in 2018.

Together, the two companies own a 53.27 stake, enough to make any decision for the company. The two came in as the WPP group, acquiring the majority stake causing Scangroup to rebrand to WPP Scangroup.

There are four groups of Standard Chartered Kenya nominees holding 11.99 percent stake (51,813,561 shares), 8.21 percent stake (35,479,499 shares), 2.21 percent (9,546,938 shares) and 0.36 percent (1,552,962) for each.

Thakrar is the biggest individual shareholder with a 10.6 per cent stake, which has with time reduced from 28.53 per cent. His ownership now has a market-to-market value of about Ksh250 million.

Ogilvy and Mather South Africa (Proprietary) Limited, a communication and PR firm, owns 12,907,856 shares equivalent to 2.99 per cent.

Kestrel Capital Nominees Ltd (Krohne Fund) owns 7,844,200 shares (1.82 per cent) while Bora Services Ltd-Sers 1 owns 3,293,267 shares or a 0.76 per cent stake.

Shareholders have been advised to exercise caution when dealing with the company’s securities.