RSM Tenon, the accountancy firm, ended its search for a head to drive a recovery after its profit warning last month as it announced the appointment of Chris Merry as chief executive.

The company had been seeking a replacement for Andy Raynor, who stepped down last month following a warning that lower revenue would produce a first-half pre-tax loss. Mr Merry will become chief executive with immediate effect, the company said on Wednesday.

Adrian Martin, who was interim chief executive, is now non-executive chairman. Mr Martin took over from Bob Morton as chairman when the latter also stepped down last month.

Until last year, Mr Merry was chief executive of the Matrix Group brokerage which he joined in 2007. He has also been chief executive of Whitehead Mann, a headhunting group.

RSM Tenon, which employs nearly 3,000 people, has come under pressure, as clients such as local authorities reduce demand for its services as they attempt to cut costs.

Shares in the company have lost nearly 90 per cent of their value over the past year.

Acknowledging that the accountancy firm was going through a “challenging period,” Mr Merry said that his immediate goal was to give the market a “very clear view of any restructuring that needs to take place”.

The company is conducting a strategic review of its business, and aims to identify preliminary steps by the time it presents interim results this month, although Mr Merry stressed he would also be restructuring the business for the long term.

He added that the range of the company’s customers – from entrepreneurs up to larger businesses and public sector clients – and its regional presence were strengths.

James Hamilton, analyst at Numis Securities, said of the appointment: “It’s an important staging post, but more important is what is done, as opposed to who does it.”

RSM Tenon expects turnover in the last six months of 2011 to be about 10 per cent lower than the £120m it generated in the same period of 2010.

It has said its second-half, being the period when UK tax deadlines fall, is traditionally more profitable because of the extra work.

The company will announce interim results on February 29, postponed from the original date of February 21.

Shares in RSM Tenon closed down 2.2 per cent at 5.55p.

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