A major boardroom overhaul looms at support services group Stobart, despite fending off attempts by investors to oust chairman Iain Ferguson (pictured).
Its AGM saw Ferguson receive 51.2% of votes in favour of him remaining in the chair. Former boss and shareholder Andrew Tinkler, fired from the board last month over allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, was voted back on the board with 51.4%.
However, Tinkler was removed for a second time by the board immediately following the result. Tinkler has reportedly said the board were denying shareholders the right to determine the group’s leadership.
A planned EGM to nominate Philip Day and supplant Ferguson with him, driven by Tinkler (former executive director), funds acting through Woodford Investment Management Limited and Allan Jenkinson, fell through yesterday.
“This is an important day for corporate governance in the UK and for ensuring that the interests of all shareholders are fairly represented and protected,” Ferguson stated following the AGM results.
Board and governance overhaul
Despite Ferguson surviving attempts to replace him, Stobart’s board has outlined a board and governance overhaul, in an attempt to unite shareholders and stakeholders.
A new chairman will be sought, along with a senior independent director and at least one more non-executive director. At least one female director will be appointed in this process, with a candidate already lined up. The group is seeking an interim CFO, after Richard Laycock departed last week.
Shareholders will be consulted in this process and their views sought on appropriate candidates.
“The last few weeks have been incredibly challenging for all who are involved with Stobart Group,” stated Ferguson.
“Following the receipt of shareholder support for all directors at the AGM, the board is now seeking to reunite stakeholders through these proposals which it hopes will obtain widespread support and avoid further unnecessary and disruptive public argument.”
As part of a process of broadening the power base of shareholders, the board will make a proposal for Tinkler’s shareholding “as soon as is practicable”.