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Gloucestershire Business News

BREAKING NEWS: Versarien CEO in shock resignation

Neill Ricketts, the founder and chief executive of Versarien plc, has today resigned from the company.

Mr Ricketts famously founded the advanced materials engineering company from his garage in 2010. 

The company grew rapidly after floating on the London Stock Exchange in 2013, moving to a base at Staverton and then to a new headquarters at Longhope Business Park in the Forest of Dean in the past two years.

Although Versarien has been through some choppy waters over the years, the announcement of Mr Ricketts' resignation will come as a major shock to the Gloucestershire business community.

A statement from the company this morning read: "Versarien plc, the advanced materials engineering group, announces that Neill Ricketts has resigned as chief executive officer of the company. The executive directors will continue to manage the company supported by the non‐executive directors.

"The board is considering the appropriate longer term management structure of the company and further announcements will be made in due course, as appropriate."

Since 2014, Versarien has pioneered the production of graphene, described as a 'wonder product'. Only last week, Versarien announced the launch of Umbro's ProTraining Elite range, including garments incorporating the company's Graphene‐Wear™ technology.

During the pandemic the company launched its graphene-enhanced protective face masks with over 100,000 orders placed.

In 2021 Versarien delivered another first with the delivery of its revolutionary graphene-enhanced concrete in a residential setting.

Mr Ricketts is a well known and respected businessman and in 2020 was appointed chair of the Forest of Dean Economic Partnership. He also served on the board of GFirst LEP for a 10-year term.

During a Big Interview  with Punchline editor Mark Owen he described how he had originally set up Versarien in his garage after becoming disillusioned with his nine-to-five job where he had 750 people working for him.

"That's a really tough transition for anybody," he said. "We had a couple of partners and took on our first employee in.April 2012. We started making graphene in 2014. We take clever ideas and make them into products."

When the company floated on the London Stock Exchange, Mr Ricketts said many people thought they were 'crazy'. He added: "It was a big risk and a big ambition but the team pulled together and we did it but it wasn't easy. And we're starting to see the rewards of that."

Versarien famously raised £3 million in 20 minutes on AIM in November 2017 as investors scrambled to buy its shares.

Mr Ricketts was unavailable for comment this morning.

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