Share indices in the week to 8 November 2002
What is it with support services and their finance directors? First it was Amey, the visionary turned basket-case, that chewed through three finance directors in five months. Then Atkins lost Ric Piper in controversial circumstances. Now Mitie has announced that its finance director, Paul Kilduff, has quit “with immediate effect” after less than two years in the post.

Mitie shares fell 24% to 78p soon after the news was released, highlighting the present extreme nervousness of investors towards support services firms.

Sensitive to the feeling in the market, Mitie chairman David Telling launched a counter-attack.

He claimed Kilduff’s departure was the result of personality differences and lack of talent, rather than any gaping holes in the group’s balance sheet.

The strategy appears to have worked – the City seems to have accepted the explanations – for now.

Things haven’t gone so smoothly for Amey. Its dear departed finance directors David Miller and Michael Kayser are still serving their notices, while Deloitte & Touche partner Eric Tracey has joined for the next few months to get Amey through its results in March.

Tea breaks must be interesting.