Hargreaves Lansdown chair to step down amid pressure from founder

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Hargreaves Lansdown chair to step down amid pressure from founder

The chairman of Hargreaves Lansdown is to step down amid a barrage of criticism from one of the co-founders of Britain’s biggest retail investment platform.

Sky News has learnt that the company has started working with headhunters on a search for Deanna Oppenheimer’s successor.

An announcement confirming the move is thought to be imminent.

News of the hunt for its next chair comes nine months after Peter Hargreaves, who owns a 20% stake in the business he co-founded, blasted Ms Oppenheimer over its performance.

Mr Hargreaves called for a radical cost-cutting programme and said Ms Oppenheimer’s five-year tenure had been “a disaster”.

Hargreaves Lansdown is waiting for its new chief executive, Dan Olley, to arrive from Tesco in the coming weeks.

Mr Olley will replace Chris Hill, who stepped down earlier this year.

The company, which has a market valuation of about £4bn, has seen its shares slump by about 60% during the last five years.

During that period, rival AJ Bell has joined it on the London stock market, while Interactive Investor was sold to abrdn for £1.5bn.

Ms Oppenheimer also chairs Intercontinental Hotels Group, and is a former director of companies including Tesco and Whitbread.

The search for her successor will be led by Penny James, the former Direct Line Group chief who is Hargreaves Lansdown’s senior independent director.

Hargreaves Lansdown has been contacted for comment.

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