Middleton originally joined the security printing giant as managing director of supply chain in 2011, becoming chief operating officer and an executive director two years ago.
He is credited with driving operational excellence and supply chain efficiencies at the £454m turnover business, and spearheaded the recent review of De La Rue’s manufacturing footprint. De La Rue’s board said: “The Board is very grateful to Rupert for his contribution and he leaves with our best wishes for the future.”
Middleton will leave after De La Rue’s AGM on 20 July. His future plans were unknown at the time of writing. He has a long track record in print including executive roles at Westferry Printers, The Stationery Office, and Trinity Mirror Printing.
De La Rue will change its executive structure as a result of his departure. It is creating the new role of chief operations director and the person appointed will be a member of its executive leadership team, but not the board.
De La Rue’s board is currently made up of chairman Philip Rogerson, chief executive Martin Sutherland, chief financial officer Jitesh Sodha, Middleton, general counsel and company secretary Edward Peppiatt, plus four non-executive directors.
In a trading update following the end of its financial year, De La Rue said that operating profits were expected to be ahead of market expectations. “This outperformance has been driven by good growth in Identity Systems and Product Authentication & Traceability product lines. The Currency business has performed in line with market expectations,” it said.
Expectations for the current financial year are unchanged. “While the sustained weakness of sterling gives us a competitive advantage in the export market, this benefit is substantially offset by increased investment in R&D, product management and sales capability, as well as the rising cost of raw materials such as cotton.”
Its share price jumped by 48.49p, or nearly 8% to 668p, after the update and hit a 52-week high of 670p in early trading. The group will release its 2016/17 results next month.
The Home Office has just launched a £490m tender for the production of British Passports. The current contract, which expires in 2019, is held by De La Rue.