THE boss of the Bournemouth-based subprime lender Amigo has stepped down after less than five months at the helm.

Chief executive Hamish Paton resigned from the company alongside chairman Stephan Wilcke amid a battle for control of the business, which is under pressure from the regulator.

Founder and largest shareholder James Benamor recently returned to the company's board as a non-executive director.

Mr Benamor owns around 61 per cent of the business but stepped down as a director after its £1.3 billion stock market float in June last year.

In the year-and-a-half since, the firm has seen its shares plummet on the back of pressure from the financial regulator, the FCA, and the tough economic outlook.

Shares in the business were around 78 per cent down compared with its price at flotation last year. The company was particularly affected by a plunge in value in August after it said it would tighten credit check policies and reduce its focus on repeat customers to ease pressure from regulators.

The company lends money at 49.9 per cent (annual percentage rate) to borrowers with bad credit histories, allowing friends or family members to act as guarantors if the customer is unable to pay their debts.

Mr Benamor will also be joined by Kelly Black, an executive at his investment vehicle Richmond Group, as a non-executive director.

The leadership changes also saw current chair of the remuneration committee Clare Salmon announce her intention to step down from the company.

Amigo said that the departure dates for each of its exiting board members will be confirmed in due course.

Mr Wilcke said: "It has been fascinating and gratifying to lead the board of Amigo.

"Clare and I will work with the board to ensure an orderly succession to take Amigo forward.

"I'd like to thank Hamish for working with the board in implementing necessary changes during a challenging period, and his continued commitment until his successor is found."

Shares in the company jumped 6.9 per cent to 64.8p after the announcement.