Diana Hunter, chief executive of Bargain Booze owner Conviviality, has stepped down from the Board of the company with immediate effect.
Hunter will remain with the Company for a period of time in order to provide transition support, while David Adams, non-executive chairman of Conviviality, has stepped into the role of executive chairman until further notice.
Hunter's departure follows the company reporting an unexpected £5.2m decline annual profits for the year last week, as well as a £30m previously unannounced tax gap.
Conviviality investors have lost more than 66% of the value of their shares, which plummeted from £3.01 to £1.01 in the last two weeks alone.
The includes around 200 Bargain Booze franchisees who collectively hold around 2.2m shares, which were given out in return for meeting performance targets.
Overall, the drop in share price means Bargain Booze shop owners have lost around £6.9m as the collective worth of the shares fell from more than £9m in October 2017 to under £2.3m now.
In the last share giveaway in October 2017, the average Bargain Booze franchisee who qualified for the share rewards scheme received shares worth £22,949.31 at the time. Those who did not sell off these shares have lost more than £17,000 as the value of the average payout dipped to £5,585.25.
However, Bargain Booze retailers remained confident in Conviviality’s performance.
Phil Dickson, owner of 12 Bargain Booze stores, told Retail Express: “It’s not an issue related to the retail side and it is definitely being portrayed as worse than it is. I’m seeing 7.5% growth this year in part thanks to the strength of their business, so I’m not worried about this at all.”
Another Bargain Booze retailer said it was a "temporary blip".
According to Sky News, Convivality is looking to raise more than £100m from investors in order to stabilise the company, it is reported that Hunter's departure was demanded by investors in return for supporting the fundraising drive.
In a statement, Conviviality said it is continuing to engage with stakeholders and will provide a further update in due course.
In 2015, Hunter set out ambitious plans to take on the symbol group sector by opening a store a week over the following three years.