Merlin Entertainments has poached its new finance director from veterinary drugs giant Dechra Pharmaceuticals.

The home of Alton Towers   and   Legoland announced that Anne-Françoise Nesmes will leave her role as finance director of Dechra to take up the same position at Merlin, replacing Andrew Carr, who is retiring in August.

Sir John Sunderland, chairman of Merlin, said: “We look forward to welcoming Anne-Françoise to the board later in the year. Her extensive finance and international experience will enable her to make a significant contribution to our business as we continue to grow.”
Ms Nesmes joined Dechra in 2013 from GlaxoSmithKline and has also worked for Caterpillar, ADP, Tetra Pak and John Crane. During her tenure at Dechra, she developed the company’s financial strategy, including introducing “efficient tax and treasury solutions”.

She said: “I have enjoyed my time at Dechra as I joined at an exciting time when the company accelerated its growth, expanded internationally and focused on becoming a pure pharmaceutical player. I will leave Dechra in a strong position and I wish the team well in the future development of the business.”

Merlin runs 110 attractions across 23 countries and is one of the biggest theme park operators in the world. The company hit a rocky patch last year, after a rollercoaster crash at its Alton Towers theme park in July left five people with serious injuries.

Visitor numbers at the Staffordshire-based attraction slumped after the incident, although trade has since picked up.(Telegraph)