IG Design Group CEO in abrupt exit

Fineman will leave the group next week
Fineman will leave the group next week

IG Design Group is looking for a new CEO after incumbent Paul Fineman unexpectedly announced his departure.

In a statement issued this morning (21 February) the group said that Fineman would step down on 1 March for “personal reasons”.

Fineman has worked at the group for 17 years, and has been group CEO for the past 14 years. 

He effected a turnaround at the business during his tenure, but the group disappointed the City last month when it issued its second profit warning in three months and axed its final dividend. 

Non-executive chairman Stewart Gilliland thanked Fineman “whole-heartedly for his committed service across many years”.

“There is no doubt that Paul's contribution to the Group has been significant, diversifying the business and strengthening our omni-channel customer relationships. Paul led the transformation from International Greetings to the global, diversified business that Design Group is today, with revenues now approaching $1bn,” he said, and wished Fineman well for the future. 

Executive director Lance Burn will take on the role of interim group chief COO while the search for a new CEO takes place. He has worked at the business for a decade and was previously CEO of its international division. 

IG Design Group has also lost the CEO of its Design Group Americas business with the exit of Gideon Schlessinger. Burn will now helm the review into costs at that part of the business.

Gilliland will also be taking “a more active role” in supporting the wider team.

The group was already looking for a new CFO. However, incumbent Giles Willits has agreed to remain in the role until June and IG’s board said it was in the final stages of appointing a replacement. 

Alongside the news of Fineman’s departure IG Design Group also said that trading in January had been in line with its latest forecasts, and it was “continuing to successfully build its orderbook for the new financial year”.

IG Design Group had sales of $873.2m (£646m) in the 2020-21 year, having switched to reporting in US dollars after the acquisition of CSS Industries in March 2020

The group’s share price fell by 7.2% to 102p following the announcement, but had recovered to 103.6p at the time of writing (52-week high: 625p, low: 91p).