Adecco top managers quit as firm posts profit

Swiss staffing firm Adecco said both its chief executive and chief financial officer had decided to leave, casting a cloud over its future as it posted its best ever first-quarter result.

In a surprise announcement, the group said CEO Patrick De Maeseneire would step down at the end of August, while CFO Dominik de Daniel would leave at the end of July.

"That both the CEO and CFO are jumping ship leaves behind a stale taste," said on Zurich-based trader. "Both have successfully led the company. That creates uncertainty, and investors hate uncertainty."

Shares in Adecco, which have outperformed the Swiss market this year by rising almost 10 percent, were indicated down 1.9 percent, according to premarket indications by bank Julius Baer.

During his six years at the company, De Maeseneire has helped Adecco grow in the higher-margin professional staffing business and launched a global I.T. platform to prepare for the digital age.

Christophe Bosset | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One analyst who did not wish to be named said he was surprised by the timing of De Maeseneire's departure although he had expected he might leave in the mid-term.

He thought de Daniel, who has served as CFO since 2006, might be quitting as he had been passed over for the CEO role.

Adecco named Alain Dehaze, a 51-year-old Belgian national, who is currently regional head for its biggest market, France, as De Maeseneire's successor.

"The fact that the board decided for an internal successor stands for continuity," Adecco Chairman Rolf Doerig said in a statement.

"With his combination of strong leadership and people skills and his operational experience, Alain Dehaze will lead the Adecco Group to the next stage of success."

The double departure comes as Adecco posted a 45 percent jump in net profit in the first quarter to 160 million euros ($181.7 million), beating the average forecast for 144 million in a Reuters poll.

This helped the Swiss company post its best ever first-quarter earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) margin of 4.6 percent.

Underlying sales growth excluding currency effects increased to 4 percent, helped by double-digit growth in Italy, Iberia and eastern Europe.

Adecco said it expects revenue growth to continue to accelerate in the second half of the year and confirmed it was on track for an EBITA margin of 5.5 percent this year.

Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld