BDA ditches Duker after boardroom split

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The Independent Online
BRIAN DUKER was deposed as chairman and chief executive of the property group BDA Holdings yesterday after institutional shareholders backed calls by two non- executive directors for his removal.

Mr Duker, whose three-year rolling contract was renewed in April, is expected to seek about pounds 300,000 compensation for loss of office, but the company said it would vigorously defend any such claim.

His departure followed differences with Richard Wollenberg and Nigel Jamieson, two non- executive directors who said they had lost confidence in his ability to take the company forward.

The situation is understood to have deteriorated after an abortive BES residential building scheme lost the company pounds 100,000. At an extraordinary meeting a resolution to remove Mr Duker from the board won 56.01 per cent of votes cast. Mr Wollenberg and Mr Jamieson own 16.1 per cent of the company.

When moves to remove him became apparent last month Mr Duker, who founded BDA 21 years ago, sold a 24.1 per cent stake to the Israeli investment group Alony Hetz, which is thought to be interested in using BDA as a way into the UK property market.

Mr Duker, who was present at the meeting, said that he had not been given clear reasons for his removal. He added: 'Since their arrival, the board has never really operated as a cohesive team and any attempts I made to block various items were met with the threat of institutional action. It became clear that they enjoyed a high level of institutional support.'

Mr Wollenberg and Mr Jamieson joined the BDA board four years ago. Mr Wollenberg, who takes over as executive chairman, said it had been agreed to renew Mr Duker's contract, despite disagreements, because the group was involved in strategic talks where his day-to-day handling of the company played a central role.