Boardroom battle at Stobart Group

There’s a boardroom battle brewing at Stobart Group. Former Chief Executive Andrew Tinkler, who owns 7.7% of the voting rights has decided to oppose the re-election of chairman Iain Ferguson at the annual meeting on the 28th May.

Tinkler is backed by two other shareholders who between them have 25.5% of the voting rights.

Stobart Group recently divested most of its shareholding in Eddie Stobart Logistics, and now holds 12.5% of the company.

Stobart Group have published a statement accusing Tinkler of destabilising the group and urged its shareholders to support the re-election of Ferguson.

It said the board “has been forced to address a number of challenges posed by Mr Tinkler in the recent past, including:

– settlement of contractual issues arising from a previous related party transaction when Mr Tinkler was CEO;

– a proposed selective buyback of part of his stake in the Company;

– a proposed additional ex-gratia bonus for him of shares then worth some £8m;

– a proposed buy-out of the Company when the share price was in the range of 100p to 120p;

– a proposed related party transaction associated with the recent aborted airline transaction.”

After the divestment of Eddie Stobart Logistics, Stobart Group has focused instead on aviation, energy and infrastructure, Tinkler stepped down as CEO last year so he could create a new business called Stobart Capital – this operates independently of Stobart Group, though remains a director.

Stobart Group chief executive Warwick Brady said: “Stobart Group now has a clear and focused strategy to drive growth in our core operating divisions to double the value of the business by 2022. The strategy was co-created between Andrew Tinkler and myself. I have been very clear that the Stobart Group needs a stable board and management team to support the execution of this plan, underpinned by strong and effective corporate governance.

“On my appointment as CEO, as part of working with Andrew Tinkler, we all agreed that Iain Ferguson would remain in his role through to 2020, and our strategy for the growth of the business was unanimously validated by the Board. It’s in the interest of the shareholders’ that we continue to have stable leadership across the business and the ability to deliver our ambitions, as was the case when Andrew Tinkler was CEO.”