Claims Direct chief executive Colin Poole has stepped down from the day-to-day running of the group to concentrate on potential acquisitions and mergers.

Poole has assumed the part-time role of non-executive deputy chairman of the company alongside Claims Direct's founder Tony Sullman, who stepped down from chairman to become non-executive chairman in January.

Poole has a 5% stake in the company and Sullman has 30%.Poole is replaced by finance director Paul Doona, who becomes managing director of the group and retains responsibility for the company's finances.

David Gravell, who joined from Zurich Insurance, becomes chief operating officer and will liaise with Claims Direct's panel solicitors and franchise network.

He will also lead the company's negotiations on the recoverability of after the event insurance premiums with the insurance industry.

The company said the changes “reflect the continuing evolution of the business, allowing greater focus to be brought to bear on operational issues, while retaining the ability to consider future strategic opportunities”.

A spokesman for the group said the re-shuffle was a collective decision of the board.

However, the shake-up follows two profit warnings from the group, which have seen its share price plummet from 350p at its July flotation to 5.75p on Monday.