Business

The results are in: Boardroom row at Stobart ends, but not without a fight

Attempts by Stobart shareholders to unseat Iain Ferguson as the group's chairman failed on Friday, but not before former chief Andrew Tinkler was voted in as a director and then dismissed again almost immediately.

At Stobart's annual general meeting in Guernsey, the decision to re-elect Ferguson as a director, and therefore remain in his position as chairman, was passed by a narrow majority vote of 51.2 per cent in favour.

The results of the votes came in late last night, as the votes were still being counted on Friday and it seems that Stobart's board of directors had some fractious decisions to make.

A last-minute vote from the floor of the meeting to install Andrew Tinkler as a director was passed by 51.4 per cent, after a legal case to put himself on the ballot ahead of the meeting was rejected by a Guernsey court.

However the move was later reversed by a dismissal from the other directors, with Ferguson saying that "it would not be in best interests of the company for [Tinkler] to act as a director".

Read more: Court rules against Ex-Stobart Group boss ahead of today's crunch vote

A spokesperson for Tinkler said that it was "pretty extraordinary" that the results of the vote were put out late on a Saturday night, adding that an investigation is being carried out into the identities of voters on either side of the resolution.

Full statements from Tinkler and other shareholders are expected in due course.

"This is truly appalling behaviour by the Stobart board, which treats shareholders wishes with utter contempt," said fund manager Neil Woodford, whose investment firm holds a 20 per cent stake in Stobart.

Woodford had openly backed Tinkler's mission of replacing Ferguson with his preferred nominee for chairman, Edinburgh Woollen Mill boss Philip Day, as well as reappointing Tinkler as a director.

Read more: Stobart calls for investors to vote down Tinklers director appointment

Ferguson said in a statement after the outcome of the vote was revealed:

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.

The Board will now focus on ensuring that the Groups strategy is delivered, while maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance. We will be meeting with all of our colleagues face-to-face over the coming weeks to address concerns and explain our plans for ongoing growth as a united team.

Stobart is also searching for a suitable replacement of its former chief financial officer Richard Laycock, who resigned ahead of the meeting on Friday.

Read more: Stobart finance boss steps down ahead of contentious AGM

Tinkler remains under investigation from legal proceedings pursued by Stobart's board, over allegations of breaching his fiduciary duty and of gross misconduct.

A letter from the company's appointed legal representative Rosenblatt also highlighted an alleged attempt by Tinkler to "extract £30m from the company" by requesting that Stobart buy back 10m of his shares in September 2017.

Read more: Former chief executive Andrew Tinkler fired from Stobart board

Stobart's share price ended the day on Friday up 0.22 per cent.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *