HOOPLE is to search for a successor to MD Mike Dearing with the company saying it remains “financially robust” and able to cope with cuts to its Herefordshire Council contract.

This morning (Friday), the company confirmed that Mr Dearing is to stand down in June to develop a consultancy start-up marketed to  “change and transformation” in the public sector.

Mr Dearing, MD at Hoople – the first cross-sector trading company in the public sector - since its start in 2011,  said the decision to step down had been “difficult” and taken with “mixed emotions”.

In confirming his step down, Mr Dearing acknowledged speculation over Hoople’s future.

"I have discussed my departure with the Board and in the interests of the company, and it’s customers, I have agreed to stay on until June.  The company finances are in good shape, we have a strong order book for 2014/15 and a highly motivated Board,” he said.

In a statement to accompany confirmation of the resignation, Hoople described itself as a “ strong, financially robust company” and able to cope with the  £1.2m saving on its services that Herefordshire Council intends to make over the coming financial year.

Set up in 2011 in the form of a joint venture company, Hoople, with the council as a 65% shareholder, took on what was previously known as the shared services partnership (SSP) and its 10-year £33 million savings target which the then council chief executive Chris Bull told cabinet had already been deleted from the council’s budget plans.

Hoople provides financial, IT and back office services.

Since formation, Hoople  says it has delivered  some £3 million in savings to shareholders.