In a phone interview, Gravenhorst said he is “extremely sorry” for the profit warning. But he tried to reassure investors that “2020 will be good.”
ISS’s chairman, Charles Allen, said the board continues to believe the company’s strategy “is the right one,” according to an emailed response to questions. But he also acknowledged that management needs to “execute better and faster.”
On Thursday, shares in ISS continued to slide, and were trading more than 3.5 per cent lower by mid-morning. Overall this year, ISS investors have seen the value of their holding slump by almost a quarter.
“We have faced some hurdles in the short term, but as guided in the outlook, we intend to return to our regular margin levels of around 5 per cent in 2020,” Allen said. “Going forward, our focus on growth, margin and cash will deliver in 2020 and further improve in the medium term.”
Gravenhorst also acknowledged that the latest downgrade — his second since August — raises questions about his status as CEO.
“You don’t have to be an Einstein to see that there’s pressure,” he said.