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Slater and Gordon makes class action deal, calls in turnaround expert

Slater and Gordon makes class action deal, calls in turnaround expert

Deal, handshake, Slater and Gordon

Slater and Gordon has taken a further step towards settling the shareholder class actions against it and has recruited a turnaround expert as its new CFO.

The embattled personal injury firm announced to the ASX yesterday that it has entered a binding agreement to settle the shareholder class action brought against it by rival firm Maurice Blackburn on behalf of lead plaintiff Matthew Hall.

The terms of the $36.5 million settlement remain consistent with the in principle settlement of the claim announced in July.

Although the plaintiffs initially sought $250 million in compensation for the money they lost on Slater and Gordon shares, Maurice Blackburn class action principal Andrew Watson said at the time of the in principle settlement the best possible outcome had been achieved, considering Slaters’ dire financial position.

The settlement terms are contingent on approval from the Federal Court.

Slater and Gordon also announced yesterday that it has recruited a new Australian chief financial officer, Belinda Nucifora, who will commence her new role on 2 October.

She replaces group chief financial officer Bryce Houghton, who stepped down as part of the separation of Slaters’ UK and Australian businesses.

The firm announced earlier this month that it would separate the two branches and focus on turning around its Australian business, with the UK business to be wholly owned by Slaters’ senior lenders.

Ms Nucifora joins from Alinta Energy, where she was group financial controller. She was instrumental in driving Alinta’s recapitalisation in 2011, and is experienced in implementing restructures and financial improvement initiatives.

Slater and Gordon CEO Hayden Stephens welcomed Ms Nucifora’s expertise.

“On behalf of myself, the board and the senior leadership team, we look forward to Belinda commencing at the beginning of October,” he said.

Slaters announced last week that it will cut 7 per cent of its Australian staff under its restructuring plan.

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