SSP has been led for the past five years by Kate Swann
This seems unfair. Smith has worked with Swann for 15 years, initially at WH Smith and latterly at SSP. At WH Smith, he helped mastermind the growth of the travel division. At SSP, he has made the business more efficient and improved profits here and in Ireland.
It is also worth noting how Smiths has fared since Swann’s departure. Having decided to move on when the company was in rude health – much like SSP – she left it in the capable hands of her sidekick, Stephen Clarke.
Smiths’ shares have more than trebled under his tenure. Today, Swann will be hoping that Simon Smith can do something similar at SSP, particularly as she is one of the largest shareholders with 4.6million shares.
MIDAS VERDICT: Investors who bought in 2015 have had a good run and may be tempted to sell or reduce their holdings. Now is not the time, however. SSP has plenty of growth potential, Smith should prove an able successor to Swann and most analysts believe the shares should rise to almost £8 in the next year. New investors may even view last week’s dip as a buying opportunity.