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Struggling subprime lender Provident Financial said on Friday its executive chairman had died suddenly on November 23.

Manjit Wolstenholme took up the reins at Provident in August after a botched restructuring of its doorstep lending arm prompted two profit warnings in three months and the resignation of chief executive Peter Crook. She had previously served as non-executive chairman, and had been a member of the board at Provident since 2007. She was 53.

Senior independent director Malcolm Le May has been appointed interim chief executive with immediate effect, the company said.

Mr Le May said:

We are deeply shocked and saddened. The thoughts of everyone at Provident are with Manjit’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them.

It was a great privilege to know her personally and to work alongside her over the last few years. She has shown exceptional leadership in stepping up to the role of Executive Chairman over the last few months. Manjit was known and respected for her achievements and championing diversity in British business, and we would like to pay tribute to her contribution to the business landscape.

Ms Wolstenholme had instituted a management shake-up at the group, appointing a new head of the doorstep lending unit, and prioritised fixing Provident’s new computer system that had been sending collection staff to the wrong addresses at the wrong times, causing repayments to be missed.

Before joining Provident’s board, Ms Wolstenholme spent 13 years in investment banking, including as co-head of investment banking at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and as a partner at Gleacher Shacklock.

She previously served as a non-executive director of Aviva Investors and spreadbetting group CMC Markets, and at the time of her death also served as a non-executive on the boards of medial group Future and student housing company Unite Group.

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