Belfast Telegraph

Speedy Hire executive chairman urged to quit by asset manager

The biggest investor in embattled tool rental firm Speedy Hire has called for its executive chairman to quit ahead of a crunch meeting next month.

Toscafund said Jan Astrand had "failed to deliver" during his tenure and it was in the best interest of shareholders that he steps down.

The letter urges Mr Astrand to leave the company before shareholders vote on his removal and the appointment of David Shearer as director during a general meeting on September 9.

The asset manager, which owns 19.4% of the Liverpool-based firm, said it was the first time in its 16-year history that it had decided to take action.

Shares in Speedy Hire have plunged 31% over the past year after it deepened its losses and announced a string of profit warnings.

In a letter to Mr Astrand, the chief executive of Toscafund, Martin Hughes, wrote: "We believe that it would be in shareholders' best interests if you were to resign ahead of the meeting to save both time and expense.

"You will by now be aware of the significant shareholder discontent about your track record at Speedy Hire, both in terms of governance and shareholder value creation."

Mr Hughes added: "The simple fact is that you have failed to deliver during your tenure as executive chairman and we do not believe you have the appropriate track record or attitude to oversee the company's turnaround."

Speedy Hire said the board will post its full response to the letter on Friday in a circular to shareholders.

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