Stobart Group boardroom battle rages on

The battle for control of the board at Carlisle-based aviation, energy and transport firm Stobart Group continues to rage on despite former CEO Andrew Tinkler failing narrowly in his effort to oust chairman Iain Ferguson.

About 51.2% of shareholders voted for Ferguson’s re-election at the Stobart Group AGM last Friday.

Tinkler had proposed replacing Ferguson with retail entrepreneur Philip Day.

And, despite 51.4% of shareholders supporting an impromptu AGM motion to elect Tinkler to the board, Stobart Group’s other directors then voted to remove him.

Stobart Group’s chief financial officer Richard Laycock resigned shortly before the AGM held in St Peter Port, Guernsey, on Friday.

On Monday, Stobart Group said in a stock exchange statement: “… directors other than Andrew Tinkler, acting unanimously in accordance with the company’s articles of incorporation, removed him from his position as a director of the company.

“Accordingly, the board of the company now comprises: Iain Ferguson (Chairman), Warwick Brady (Chief Executive), Andrew Wood (Senior Independent Director) and John Coombs (Non-Executive Director).”

Ferguson said: “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.

“I am pleased to have been re-elected.

“The board will now immediately start the important process of uniting shareholders and stakeholders, and progressing our strategy to deliver further shareholder returns.

“Andrew Tinkler will not be part of this process – the board has taken the decision again to dismiss him, following the passing of his resolution to be elected as a director of the company.

“The board maintains the view that, notwithstanding the support of certain shareholders, given the seriousness of his breach of fiduciary duty and the impending court cases against him, it would not be in the best interests of the company for him to act as a director.

“The board will now focus on ensuring that the group’s 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.

“At the same time, we will seek to diversify our shareholder base to reduce concentration; we are already in discussions with potential investors who are interested in Stobart Group’s growth potential.

“We will be making further board appointments to support the delivery of the next phase of the group’s strategy.

“We have identified an excellent female candidate as a non-executive director and we will recruit a chief financial officer to replace Richard Laycock, who has stepped down from the board.

“Stobart Group is an excellent business and an iconic brand.

“The board recognises the responsibility and privilege that it has in ensuring the business is well managed for the benefit of all shareholders, staff and society.

“We are committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate governance and to act in the best interests of all shareholders.”