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LONDON-Chesterton’s chief executive and chief operating officer have been fired, joining a long list of top level casualties inflicted during the takeover battles for the company.

Neil List only took over as chief executive in April this year when Lorraine Baldry was forced to step down after talks with a potential bidder were aborted. Mike Backs was appointed chief operating officer at the same time. But now they, the only two board members to oppose a takeover bid from 11% shareholder Mohammad Jafari-Fini, have been sacked.

A company statement said that the dismissals “followed their not observing a clear and specific instruction concerning an announcement.” Backs and List had indicated that they had a received an approach from a potential rival bidder and cited that as a reason not to support the Jafari-Fini offer. But the four other board members – chairman Peter Brooks, deputy chairman Gavin Black, finance director Ian Fleming and non-executive director Alan Davis – had backed the bid by Jafari-Fini and have now forced out the two dissenters.

The ousted board members will remain as directors of the company “at the present time”. An executive committee comprising four senior managers and chaired by Black will assume temporary responsibility for the running of the company.

In addition to Baldry, List and Backs, Chesterton’s top directors, head of commercial Tony McKay and finance director Colin Stacey have also gone, in their cases fired by List. Jafari-Fini has since appointed former Inisgnia Richard Ellis director Ted Webster to head the Commercial division.

But the turbulence at the top of the company is unlikely to end with List and Back stepping down. A rival bid is expected to be made shortly and the two ousted executive are said to be ready to back it.

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