Richard Slee, who took up the role 16 months ago, left the firm at the end of last week.
He has been replaced by chief financial officer Rachael Nevins, who joined the business a year ago. Like Slee, she came from outside the industry.
Slee’s unexpected exit follows a raft of high-level departures at the security and transactional printing business earlier this year, which included long-standing chief operating officer Barry Crich and sales director Martyn Viquerat.
The former Adare Group was split into two separate businesses in June 2017: Adare SEC and print management wing Adare International.
Adare Group had been backed by Leeds-based private equity house Endless LLP since 2015 and there is industry speculation that Endless is looking to exit its investment.
Adare SEC posted sales down slightly at £67.7m (2016: £68m) while operating profits slumped by 64% to £1.2m in its most recent financial results, to 31 October 2017.
The results included exceptional costs of £4.8m that propelled the business to a £4.7m bottom-line loss.
The exceptionals included £2m in restructuring and reorganisation costs, and a £2.2m provision against intercompany debtors. Adare SEC stated that as part of the separation of the former group businesses, certain intercompany balances “were settled by way of debt forgiveness”.
“Endless will want better returns and it will be interesting to see how the business changes under the stewardship of the new CEO,” said an industry source.
“In pushing the old brigade away they certainly lost a lot of industry expertise, and losing that experience will be a challenge for them.”
Nevins had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.
It’s understood that a replacement CFO will be recruited.
Adare SEC employs around 450 staff and has operations in Huddersfield, Redditch, Nottingham and Guildford.
PrintWeek was unable to reach Slee for comment.