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Chairman quits troubled Benjys


SANDWICH firm Benjys has lost its chairman after Richard Raworth stepped down amid concerns over the future of the troubled business.

Raworth, father of BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth, was appointed chairman by private equity firm ECI Ventures, which backed a management buy-in of the firm in 2000.

Raworth, 64, resigned at the beginning of this month. Sources close to him say he is seeking to distance himself from the crisis-ridden chain and is concerned about the status of the business.

Last month, Benjys reported losses and ballooning debt and there was an escalation of a legal slanging match between the company and groups of its franchisees. The sandwich chain is suing a number of franchisees, accusing them of breaking agreements. The franchisees are now preparing to counter-sue.

Raworth is no stranger to corporate-strife. He was forced to resign as chairman of Guardian iT, the software and services firm, in 2002 when a £2.5m hole was found in the accounts.

In its latest results, Benjys reported a £3m annual loss.

A spokesman for Benjys said: 'Richard Raworth left entirely for his own personal reasons.

'Until a replacement can be found, non-executive deputy chairman Charles William Holroyd will take on this role.'

Raworth could not be contacted for comment.