Emap, the media giant in the throes of a debilitating boardroom dispute, is considering plans to rejig its senior management, in a move that would see the current chief executive, Robin Miller, 55, become non- executive chairman.
The managing director, 50-year-old David Arculus, would become chief executive, responsible for the company's key strategy.
The chairman, Sir John Hoskyns, would retire in the course of next year, having reached his 70th birthday.
The plans, said last night to be at an early stage, are a response to the on-going disagreement between the board and two dissident non-executive directors, Joe Cooke and Ken Simmonds, which has worried the City and caused fluctuations in Emap's share price.
Emap declined to comment on the management plans. A spokesman said: "There is no definition decision on the succession to John Hoskyns."
The news emerged as Emap continued to work toward an early December date for an extraordinary meeting, convened to ask for shareholders' approval to sack the two dissident directors. That move followed last week's decision by a majority vote by the board to confirm Sir John's position as chairman. Professor Simmonds, of the London Business School, has asked for a copy of the shareholder register, and plans to send a circular outlining his case against dismissal.
The two dissidents had publicly fought against plans to reform the company's by-laws, passed by shareholders by an 82 per cent majority in the summer. The changes allowed the board to fire directors on the vote of 75 per cent of the board, and to reduce the minimum number of non-executive directors from five to three.
Mr Cooke and Professor Simmonds, both long-serving Emap directors, had argued that the plan was against the interests of shareholders and good corporate governance.
Sources close to Emap insisted last night that the dispute was really about personality clashes. However, they said there were no significant differences of opinion among the senior management, despite indications that Mr Miller and Mr Arculus had clashed in the past.
Meanwhile, it emerged last night that consultants LEK had been hired five years ago when Graham Ross Russell was still chairman to advise the company on key management and strategic issues. According to informed sources, the consultants concluded that Mr Ross Russell, as well as Mr Cooke and Professor Simmonds, should all step down.
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