Stobart abruptly changes direction with new executive chairman stepping down


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The Independent Online

Just three months after a boardroom coup saw Stobart Group claim it needed an executive chairman, the haulier today said that role was “no longer appropriate” and the woman in the post would vacate it immediately.

The company, famous for its red-and-green Eddie Stobart lorries, promoted Avril Palmer-Baunack from deputy CEO to executive chairman in January, as part of a boardroom shake-up backed by shareholders that saw chairman Rodney Baker-Bates booted out, and Palmer-Baunack given the task of selling off underperforming parts of the business.

At the time, chief executive Andrew Tinkler said: “Avril has demonstrated to the board that she is the right person to carry out this demanding role.”

But Stobart was kicked out of the FTSE 250 last month, after its share price lost more than a quarter of its value in 12 months, and today the haulier said: “The role of executive chairman is no longer appropriate and Avril Palmer-Baunack will stand down with immediate effect.”

The senior independent director, Alan Kelsey, will also depart by May, while Baker-Bates, who had announced his retirement, will stay on until a new chairman is appointed.

Separately, the company has signed a three-year distribution deal with Tesco, and said its full-year results would be “moderately” ahead of expectations.