Five new non-executive directors have been appointed to the board at Londis following criticism that existing board members have not acted in the best interests of retailers.
Four of the appointments - Rick Bailey, Rodney Braxton, Mike Howe and Ramesh Shingadia - are Londis retailers recruited after a selection process overseen by Londis’s advisor KPMG Corporate Finance. The fifth, Moneybox
chairman Peter McNamara, who has held senior positions at Lloyds TSB, Alliance and Leicester and Wesleyan Assurance Society, has been appointed vice chairman.
Bailey, who spent several years in charge of 7-Eleven c-stores in Hong Kong, south China and Singapore, owns a Londis store and post office in Frampton-on-Severn, Gloucestershire. While he had “mixed views” on the way events had unfolded since the Musgrave bid was announced, he said he was not pushing for the original non-executive directors still on the board to leave. He added: “I have no axe to grind and I’m not pushing for people to go. KPMG is carrying out a thorough review and I think I can make a useful contribution to the company.”
Stephen Barrett, international chairman of KPMG Corporate Finance, said: “Londis now has 10 directors, half of whom are new, and eight of whom are independent [the five new members plus Peter Williams, Daniel Driscoll and Bharathari Patel]. This signals that objectivity and the interests of all shareholders are cornerstones of the new board’s agenda.”
A Londis spokesman dismissed claims by the Londis shareholders’ action group that KPMG’s fees could be related to the amount of money bidders were offering for the company. He said: “This is rubbish.KPMG is getting a flat fee. There is no financial incentive for KPMG to recommend a particular deal or indeed recommend any deal.”
Elaine Watson