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John Menzies chairman Iain Napier quits

Published 18/05/2016

Lakestreet Capital called for a break-up of the company, pressing for the aviation and distribution divisions to be split
Lakestreet Capital called for a break-up of the company, pressing for the aviation and distribution divisions to be split

The chairman of John Menzies is quitting, weeks after shareholders were advised to vote down his reappointment and amid investor calls for the company's break-up.

Iain Napier said he will step down and retire as chairman from the aviation and print distribution firm at the annual meeting on Friday, after eight years in the role.

The decision comes after shareholder advisory group Glass Lewis issued a circular in April raising concerns that Mr Napier was not fulfilling his "duties to shareholders" by failing to address investor concerns over the direction of the business.

Last year activist investor Lakestreet Capital called for a break-up of the 182-year-old Edinburgh-based company, pressing for the aviation and distribution divisions to be split.

It is understood that Lakestreet has continued to pile on the pressure and was intending to vote against Mr Napier's reappointment at the AGM.

Lakestreet, the group's second largest shareholder, believes that Menzies is "dramatically undervalued", arguing that a break-up would "improve profit margins and enhance the company's position in the competitive landscape".

Pre-tax profit at Menzies slumped almost 40% to £25.7 million last year and the company has been rocked by two other high-profile departures in recent months.

Chief financial officer Paula Bell and chief executive Jeremy Stafford both left the firm this year, with Mr Stafford's successor yet to be announced.

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