Halfords surges 10% after boss quits with £645,399 pay-off

HalfordsHalfords (LSE: HFD) surged 19p, or 10%, to 216p this morning after announcing the departure of chief executive David Wild. The statement coincided with a trading update, which revealed first-quarter sales down 5% following "unseasonal weather conditions".Halfords (LSE: HFD) confirmed Mr Wild had agreed to leave the board immediately and that a search for his successor was underway. Mr Wild said: "Now that we have developed the overall strategy that will guide the future of the business over the coming years, I feel it is the appropriate time to step down and seek fresh challenges elsewhere."

Mr Wild's service agreement includes a twelve-month notice period that will see him collect £645,399 in pay and benefits before July next year.

Mr Wild was appointed chief executive on 4 August 2008, when the Halfords share price was 282p and the company's annual pre-tax profits topped £90 million. According to Bloomberg, Halfords shares have since provided a -11% total return while the FTSE All-Share index has delivered +27%.

Due to an "uncertain trading environment", Halfords said today that current-year profits would come in between £62 million and £70 million -- 25% down on 2012.

Nonetheless, Halfords did say it would declare a maintained 8p per share dividend within its forthcoming half-year results. Should the full-year payout be sustained as well, the 216p shares would yield more than 10%.

However, a retailer with sliding profits and a vacuum in the boardroom might not be the most dependable dividend investment within this choppy market right now.

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