Founder of high-profile Gloucestershire engineering firm resigns

In a shock announcement, Neill Ricketts, the co-founder of Gloucestershire specialist engineering firm Versarien, has resigned from his position as chief executive officer.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
Neill Ricketts has resigned from his position as chief executive officer of Gloucestershire-based Versarien.

Just days after it delivered a financial report outlining its plans to streamline its operations, the founder of Gloucestershire-based graphene engineering firm, Versarien, has announced his resignation as chief executive officer.

Neill Ricketts co-founded the Forest of Dean firm, which specialises in wonder material graphene, in 2010. Since then, he's floated it on the stock market, seen it championed by the government and won major investment for the company, which works hard to spread word about the material's potential.

Ricketts, who also a lauded board member of the influential Gloucestershire business group GFirst LEP until 2022, re-located the business to Longhope from Cheltenham in 2021 as it concentrated on introducing numerous markets to how graphene could enhance their products.

However on Friday 10 March 2023, the firm issued a statement to confirm his resignation from the business.

It said: ‘The executive directors will continue to manage the company supported by the non‐executive directors. The board is considering the appropriate longer term management structure of the company and further announcements will be made in due course, as appropriate.’

After the weekend, on Tuesday 14 March is released further detail: 'Neill remains a significant shareholder.  Neill is now on garden leave and ceases to have day-to-day responsibilities unless required by the company, but will remain a director of Versarien and be entitled to attend and vote at board meetings for the duration of his 12 month notice period.  The board of Versarien intends to collectively look to appoint a successor.

'The board would very much like to thank Neill for his contribution and dedication to the company since its formation and looks forward to his ongoing support.'

On Wednesday 15 March Versarien released another statement, this time confirming it had raised £318,000 through a placement of new shares.

Just last month, Versarien declared a rise in turnover, but widening losses, and sought to reassure shareholders after revealing economic conditions had delayed the commercialisation of its core product.

When contacted by SoGlos, Ricketts said he had no comment to make.

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