Liberty investors force board clear-out
Wednesday 14 January 1998
The company's advisers have also resigned, leaving Liberty facing costly compensation payments and yet another "fundamental strategic review". The move has left Liberty without a single executive director after Andrew Garety, who was appointed chairman only last month, resigned along with managing director Ian Thomson.
The two non-executive directors, Brian Perry and Evie Soames, have also quit.
The four directors took the decision after being placed in an impossible position by the rebel investors, who include Bryan Myerson, the South African investor, and the founding Stewart-Liberty family. They requisitioned an emergency meeting to remove them.
As the rebels, backed by the Merchant Navy Pension Fund, spoke for 52 per cent of the votes, it made the outcome a foregone conclusion.
Mr Thomson and Mr Garety had supported Mr Cassidy's plans to spend pounds 43m on redeveloping Liberty's flagship store on London's Regent Street, a project which the founding family feels is too costly.
The two executive directors were both on two-year fixed contracts and will be in line for substantial compensation. Mr Thomson can expect almost pounds 300,000 while Mr Garety is in line for more than pounds 200,000. Mr Cassidy could receive pounds 150,000. It is understood that Mr Garety and Mr Thomson will remain to ensure an orderly handover but they will not be operating on a full-time basis.
The group's entire advisory team, including Barings, Cazenove and Slaughter & May, served notice to quit, fulfilling a promise made before Christmas if Mr Cassidy was removed.
Other institutional investors were incensed at the move, which they say may further erode shareholder value. One senior fund manager said: "I find the whole thing absolutely bizarre. It is farcical and, I think, without precedent.
"We have a majority of the shareholders clearing out the board, when the company is at a critical stage in its development. There is no chief executive and morale must be at rock bottom. Who would want to come in as chief executive. If you came in wearing the wrong colour tie, you could be chucked out."
Liberty did make one appointment yesterday. It has recruited Philip Bowman as non-executive chairman. Mr Bowman is a former finance director of Bass who has been working in Australia with Coles Myer.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...