Rebel investors oust Lewis at Patientline

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The Independent Online

The hospital services group had been fighting a rearguard action to protect Mr Lewis for several months in the face of growing investor disquiet.

Last night it said it had made plans "for an orderly succession following the planned retirement of Derek Lewis" - a version of events that not everyone in the City accepted.

Shore Capital, the boutique investment bank that has led the charge against Mr Lewis, said in a statement: "The decision to remove Mr Lewis would appear to have been supported by a large majority of Patientline shareholders." It had called for an extraordinary meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, when it was to demand that Mr Lewis step down and James Barclay Douglas be appointed chairman.

Patientline said Geoff White will bechairman, with Mr Barclay Douglas joining the board. Mr Lewis will remain at the company as president.

Adam Teeger, a Shore Capital director, said Mr Lewis had presided over a huge destruction in shareholder value. "We wanted them to do this four months ago," he said.

Patientline, which provides television and telephone services for hospital patients, has now avoided the necessity of staging a controversial extraordinary meeting. Mair Barnes, a non-executive director at Patientline, said: "We trust that today's announcement will put a swift end to the distracting events of the past few months."

The shares fell 1 per cent to 23p, valuing the company at £21m.