Stobart Group, the owner of Southend Airport, has written to its shareholders to urge them to back chairman Iain Ferguson, after it sacked director and former chief executive Andrew Tinkler on Thursday for trying to oust him.
In the letter, the company said that while Tinkler has a right as a shareholder to propose a change, his wider actions, particularly in writing to all employees, "have threatened to destabilise the company and have put at risk the interests of all shareholders".
"This is why the company had no alternative other than to dismiss him yesterday," it said.
"Our chief executive and his management team are highly experienced in growing businesses and delivering value to all shareholders. They need to be able to do so against a background of stability supported by an independent board."
Stobart, which is is launching proceedings in the High Court to seek damages from Tinkler for breaches of contractual and fiduciary duties, said it was changing from a collection of emerging businesses into a more tightly focused group.
"The building blocks are in place for the main drivers of value, the aviation and energy divisions, to generate operating profit and cash and create significant value for all shareholders." Stobart added that Ryanair's decision to create a base at Southend was "ample testament to that".
"This evolution requires a different management style to the entrepreneurial approach which nurtured the original business initiatives. It demands consistent strategy, professional management and accountability, all supported by an independent board that protects the interests of all shareholders and facilitates delivery of the long-term success of the company."
Stobart urged all of its shareholders to support the re-election of Iain Ferguson at the AGM on 6 July. It said anything else would dilute the robustness and the diversity of opinion on the board, and significantly impact the group's planned growth strategy and its ability to optimise shareholder returns and create instability.
Supporting Ferguson would avoid significant board resignations, remove the risk of further operational management destabilisation and distraction and allow Stobart to maintain "the highest standards of corporate governance to ensure the interests of all shareholders are protected".
His re-election would also reduce the risk to shareholder value and avoid sponsor and independent broker resignation.
"The management team can only operate effectively within a stable framework of strong corporate governance focused on protecting the interests of all shareholders. That is why it is vital that shareholders support Iain Ferguson in the upcoming AGM."
At 0940 BST, the shares
were down 3% to 258.60p.