Adrian Biles, Ince's former chief executive, has been removed as a director of the firm with immediate effect.
Biles was jettisoned from his position on Monday "as a result of circumstances which may give rise to a conflict of interest between Adrian Biles and the Company", according to an announcement the listed firm made to the London Stock Exchange.
Ince declined to clarify the nature of the potential conflict.
In July, Biles was replaced as the CEO of Ince as it announced that it needed to raise over £8 million to avoid "financial difficulties".
The firm revealed that it was operating "at the limit of its borrowing facilities" and that in May it had been unable to repay a short term loan. It disclosed that it had also lost £5m as a result of last year’s cyber attack, which rendered time recording and invoice production "impossible for an extended period", forcing staff to work on paper.
Ince managed to raise £9.5m in August, which is just as well, as reports from inside the firm suggest matters were getting desperate: sources told RollOnFriday that in March Ince stopped paying staff pension contributions. Management allegedly told staff that the non-payment was due to the cyber attack rather than a lack of funds, and that it would be restarting contributions in August, with a 12.5% top up that month.
Ince's stock market performance collapsed after it revealed the dire state of its finances, and the share price continues to bob along at under 5p, well below the high of 188p in reached in 2019. Clearly the current price represents a bargain any investor would be mad not to snap up, and the fact that Ince is delaying publication of its annual accounts until November "due to the cumulative impact of Covid-19" is nothing to worry about at all.
Ince's 700 staff in its 22 offices around the world do have something to worry about, however. Management has identified various routes to salvation, including “synergies” [translation: 2 become 1, not in a good way], a "reduced overseas footprint" [shuttering abroad], a "review and rationalisation of non-core business streams", [getting rid of more staff], "further property rationalisation" [holding meetings in the corner of Pret], "headcount reductions" [no translation necessary, in fact they're kind of rubbing it in now], and "tighter control of overhead costs" [BYO loopaper, rolling blackouts].
Various events of 2022 have soured the end of Biles's reign. Having masterminded the profitable stock market listing of Gordon Dadds, he embarked on an aggressive growth strategy that saw the group snapping up troubled firms at bargain basement prices, including prestigious shipping firm Ince, whose name Gordon Dadds adopted and increasingly appears to wear in the manner of Leatherface.
The firm did not respond to a request for comment.