Interflora board fired by members
Around 1,500 people attended the five-hour gathering at Warwick University, representing about 1,000 of Interflora's 2,500 voting members. The series of motions, to throw out the board, were approved by the smallest of majorities in the ballots. The result could scupper proposals to turn Interflora into a fully fledged company with the possibility of a stock market flotation.
David Parry, Interflora's chairman, immediately called a postal ballot covering all the membership to clarify the issue. The egm then proceeded to vote on whether to instal six new board members backed by the rebels. "The board have been deselected with immediate effect. We need to sit down and digest the result," said an Interflora spokesman.
The rebels were unhappy with plans by Interflora, an association of independent florists acting in a similar way to a club, to shake-up its membership rules. The changes would raise the annual membership fee from pounds 300 to pounds 1,750, but reduce the charge for each customer transaction from pounds 2.99 to 60p. The aim is to challenge the competitive threat from rivals such as Marks & Spencer and the supermarkets.
Interflora, which has annual delivery orders worth pounds 100m, has insisted this will not disadvantage smaller florists, a claim it said was backed up by informal regional soundings of members taken over the past few months. "Members will find that the alteration in charges balances out for the vast majority," said an Interflora spokesman.
The rebels had wanted to delay the changes, a tactic which the management had always admitted could succeed given the Interflora's rudimentary voting structure. The egm motion needed support from just a simple majority of those florists attending. The rebels, led by Leeds florist Bev Wood, had previously claimed to have about 450 supporters.
Interflora had been examining ditching its mutual status and turning itself into a plc. Members, who all own their own businesses, would become shareholders in a newly established company running Interflora's administrative and marketing operations, based in Sleaford in Lincolnshire. They had hoped to put their commercial strategy to Interflora's annual meeting in October.
Woolwich terror attack: Suspect Michael Adebowale saw friend 'literally sliced to pieces' in 2008
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.