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Gloucestershire Business News

Owner of high profile firm castigated for taking a holiday

Bosses of publicly listed companies expect to get a bit of flak from shareholders - but it seems it is not wise to mention you are taking time off.

Just look at what happened to Neill Ricketts, founder and chief executive officer of Cheltenham-headquartered Versarien plc, when it emerged on social media he had taken a break with his family.

Mr Ricketts was most recently in the news after the Prime Minister Theresa May invited the boss of the graphene business on her high-profile none-stop trade mission to China.

It was a visit which promised much - but some are more patient than others. And that the Forest of Dean resident has taken his large family to Mexico for a break lit the blue touch paper for some.

"The view of 1 s'holder (not me): 'holidaygate' hasn't helped. I think people were expecting NR to be flying back and forth to China like a yoyo, instead he's lounging it up in Mexico...I'd say NR's little Jolly has probably caused VRS to lose almost 10%' Good job," tweeted Ian Westbrook (@IWestbrook).

"When China's signed I don't care if he goes on a 3-month cruise. Until then going on holiday in light of his comments of only 2 weeks ago is frankly irresponsible," added Mr Westbrook.

"This is the most important deal VRS will ever sign - wait till it's done THEN take as long with the family as he likes."

He was responding to a Tweet from Jack Christian who happened to mention Mr Ricketts holiday to Mexico. And this was just part of the conversation.

Tweeting in defence of the embattled ceo Alex Kell (‏@AlexPKell) said: "I'm a shareholder and I'm glad @neillricketts takes time off. It's that or burn out, whoever's opinion that was is an idiot... that of course is just my 'opinion'."

"If a deal hinges on a CEO going on holiday or not it's a weak deal. I haven't seen comments from a couple of weeks ago so my comment is simply in relation to taking time off, & I stand by that I'm ok with it, not that Neill needs anyone's permission."

Henry Payne (@haggyp7) stepped in to try to make sure the Mr Ricketts' holiday was not completely ruined.

"Neill - I'm sure you don't but please don't think this is the overall sentiment of investors. The VAST majority want you to enjoy your well-earned holiday! Don't feel too bad about switching off Twitter until you return," Tweeted Mr Payne.

As we said, just some of the joys of listing your company on the stock market and trying to keep up a dialogue with your shareholders. 

Punchline hopes the rest of Mr Ricketts' holiday proves enjoyable.

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