Activist investor Peter Gyllenhammar is preparing to overhaul Mallett, the 148-year-old London antiques dealer.
The Swedish entrepreneur, who holds a 26.2% stake in the company, has called for an extraordinary general meeting to be held to decide if he can join its board. Mallett has so far refused to allow this, and advised investors to reject the motion when the meeting is held in the next few weeks.
Gyllenhammar has said that if he joins the board he will launch a strategic review of Mallett to improve its financial performance.
Despite its good reputation, Mallett, whose shares have fallen by 14% over the past 12 months, is forecast to make a £400,000 loss this year. It does not currently pay a dividend.
Gyllenhammar said: “In order for the company to capture some of its potential, I strongly believe that its drive must come from directors who represent true ownership of the company — not just well-paid non-executives with no real risk.
“The ownerless model was tried in the Soviet Union for many decades, and we all know how that worked out.”
Mallett said: “The board believes the proposed resolutions are not in the best interests of the company.”