Portland chief Furness quits for ‘new direction’

Poster specialist buyer Portland Outdoor Advertising is to part company with finance director Chris Furness.

Furness’s decision to quit comes as WPP Group moves to enlarge its 33 per stake in Portland to 61 per cent by buying Dentsu-owned CDP’s share in the company. The rest of the equity is owned by the management, with Portland chairman and chief executive Dennis Sullivan holding about 29 per cent.

Furness has worked at Portland for more than four years. He leaves on April 30. He says: “I decided it was time for a directional change in my career. What I do at the end of that is obviously down to me.”

Sullivan, who says he is looking for a replacement, says: “I am sorry he is leaving.”

Furness confirms the group has applied for an extension to submit its 1997 accounts because of the impact of a major fraud at Portland’s office in the Czech Republic, which collapsed last year (MW December 3 1998).

A fraud detection agency was called in to work with the British Embassy and the Czech authorities in an effort to press charges against figures in the Czech advertising industry. Furness,who has no connection, directly or indirectly with the Czech affair, says the company aims to file its 1997 accounts, together with the 1998 accounts, by May 31.

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