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Saga share price slides as CEO unveils plans to step down

Saga’s share price (LON:SAGA) is in the doldrums this Wednesday as the mid-cap company announced that its chief executive would step down at the end of the group’s financial year. The announcement comes at a sensitive time for the cruises-to-insurance group for the over-50s which recently booked a £310-million charge and trimmed its payout to shareholders.

As of 09:43 BST, Saga’s share price had given up three percent to 38.82p. The shares are underperforming the broader UK market, with mid-cap FTSE 250 index currently standing 0.31 percent in the red at 19,266.25 points.

Saga’s CEO to step down

Saga announced in a statement today that the company’s chief executive Lance Batchelor would retire at the end of the current financial year in January 2020, after six years with the business. The cruises-to-insurance group for the over-50s said that it had kicked off the process to recruit a successor.

“Lance has led Saga with a resolute focus on reinvestment and rebuilding a truly customer centric organisation,” the group’s chairman Patrick O’Sullivan commented in the statement. News of Batchelor’s departure comes after the FTSE 250 company warned on profits in April. The Financial Times reports that at the time, one investor had said that management “have to take responsibility for this”.

“It is not the first time they have let us down,” the investor added.

Analyst ratings update

Peel Hunt reaffirmed the lifestyle group as a ‘buy’ yesterday, without specifying a target on the Saga share price. According to MarketBeat, the mid-cap group currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average valuation of 116.40p.

Saga  unveiled a partnership with Goldman Sachs’ savings bank Marcus yesterday, with the companies set to launch new products together from autumn 2019. The FTSE 250 company is scheduled to hold its annual general meeting next week.

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