Vodafone investor to vote against Sarin

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The Independent Online

The pressure on Vodafone's embattled chief executive Arun Sarin shows no sign of letting up after one of the company's largest shareholders declared its intention to vote against his reelection at Vodafone's annual meeting next week.

Morley Fund Management holds a 2.1 per cent stake in Vodafone, making it the mobile telecoms company's seventh largest shareholder. Lloyd Whitworth, the head of core UK equities at Morley, said: "Morley confirms that while it is encouraged by recent developments in company strategy, it has decided to vote against the reelection of a number of the incumbent non-executive directors and also Arun Sarin."

Morleyhas been publicly critical of Mr Sarin in recent months. The fund manager is not convinced Vodafone's management, under the leadership of Mr Sarin, is appropriate to lead the new strategy that includes entering the broadband market. Standard Life, another top-10 Vodafone shareholder which has publicly criticised Mr Sarin, declined to comment on its intentions.

A Vodafone spokesman said: "As far as we are aware, the vast majority of votes cast will be in support of the board." At Vodafone's annual meetingin London on Tuesday, it will introduce Sir John Bond, the former chairman of HSBC, as its new chairman. Europe's largest mobile telecoms company will also release first-quarter trading data on Monday.

Non-executive directorsMichael Boskin, Jürgen Schrempp and Luc Vandevelde, the former chairman of Marks & Spencer, have been singled out for criticism.

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