The boardroom battle at Stobart Group continued on Tuesday as the Southend Airport owner confirmed that its deposed former chief executive Andrew Tinkler and fund manager Neil Woodford have proposed retail guru Philip Day as a new director.
Day, who owns high street chains Jaeger, Edinburgh Woollen Mills and Peacocks, has been put up for vote either at the FTSE 250 company's forthcoming annual shareholder meeting or at a subsequently convened general meeting in order to replace existing chairman Iain Ferguson, who made the board's dispute with ex CEO Andrew Tinkler public last week.
Tinkler, who remains an executive director and spends half his time heading independent advisory arm Stobart Capital, has been able to call such a motion as his near-7.7% shareholding has been joined by the voting power of the the 20% stake owned by Woodford Investment Management funds and 5.5% owned by Allan Jenkinson.
Stobart, which operates in biomass, rail haulage and owns the Stobart Air business that operates flights for Aer Lingus and Flybe, said its nomination committee had separately identified in "an excellent female candidate" to stand as director, replacing incumbent John Garbutt who is standing down at the annual meeting.
Tinkler has stated his desire to replace Ferguson as chairman, with Day being put up for that job after Stobart put out a statement last week making a number of claims about Tinkler, which he has since refuted.
These included that there were a number of "contractual issues" arising from a previous related party transaction when Tinkler was CEO, including a proposed selective buyback of part of his stake in the company, a proposed £8m bonus, a proposed related party transaction associated with the recent aborted acquisition of Flybe, and that he had proposed taking the company private when the shares
were priced below 120p.
Tinkler, who stepped down as chief executive last year in order to focus more on the advisory arm, said the statement "contains false and defamatory material about me, and information regarding the company that I consider to be misleading".
On Tuesday, Stobart said its nomination committee will consider Day's candidature "and will advise shareholders in due course of its recommendation in relation to board appointments".