Gavin Darby, the boss of Premier Foods, narrowly avoided being ousted by the shareholders of the company at its annual general meeting that was held today.
The final votes revealed that 59 percent of the investors of the company was in favor of the re-election of Darby as the boss of the firm.
However, the firm was left with a bloody nose as 41 percent of the investors opposed his reinstatement, presenting it as a significant rebellion which will have to be listed in the register of shareholder revolts of the government.
There was also a high level of opposition to nearly every other resolution that was proposed during the meeting. Over 20 percent of votes opposed the remuneration report of the directors, the re-election of the majority of the board members, and the reappointment of KPMG as the auditor of the company.
Oasis, an activist investor, which had been attemting to push Darby out of his post, said that he was saved by “his cosy relationship with conflicted shareholder Nissin Foods,”
It added: “The message from today’s huge negative vote could not be clearer – Gavin Darby has no credibility and he should step down immediately,” a spokesperson said. “If he is unwilling to resign, we urge the other directors to discharge their duties and act in the best interests of the shareholders as a whole to remove him.”
Talking after the stormy annual general meeting, Keith Hamill, the chairman of Premier Foods, said that the board of the company supported the chief executive and that decision had been accepted by the majority of its shareholders.
He said that it would be wrong to ignore the views of almost 60% of the investors to support the re-election of Darby. He added: “We intend to continue to listen and have discussions with shareholders, including those whose support we don’t have.”
This was the second major shareholder revolt in a boardroom of a listed company this month, after Iain Ferguson, the chairman of Stobart, was able to keep his position by a narrow margin almost two weeks ago.