No bouquets for Interflora board as rebels gather

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The Independent Online
David Parry, chairman of Interflora, will decide today whether to resort to the rule book to protect the directors against attempts by rebel florists to unseat them amid a fierce row over the future of the organisation, writes Nick Gilbert.

Interflora members vote later today on whether the current board should be thrown out and replaced by directors proposed by a 400-strong group of dissident florists objecting to major organisational changes, rising membership fees and plans to turn member-owned Interflora into a public company owned by shareholders.

Mr Parry will confront his opponents at 2pm at the University of Warwick. How many of Interflora's 2,700 members will turn up is not known.

According to Alyson McGowan, a solicitor acting for the rebel group, the dissidents need a simple majority of those present. However, under Interflora's constitution any verdict reached today could be overturned by a postal vote of those who do not turn up.

Mr Parry insists the controversial plans for Interflora are aimed at fighting off competition in delivering flowers from Tesco and Marks & Spencer. "We're trying to move our members forward so we remain first choice with customers,'' he says. ''We don't want high-street florists to go the way of the butcher and the baker."