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City comment: THG crisis shows Matt Moulding needs more grey hairs in the boardroom

·1-min read
THG boss Matt Moulding  (Handout)
THG boss Matt Moulding (Handout)

Has a capital markets day ever gone so badly?

Yesterday I told readers of this column to watch the THG share price for the City verdict on Matt Moulding’s competency as a public market CEO. The answer has been resounding.

Relations between THG and the City are about as bad as you can get. Analysts are complaining of a lack of trust and one told me: “Some people are saying this is the WeWork of Manchester.”

That looks overblown. But what is clear is Moulding is out of his depth.

Part of the problem is the aggressive governance structure. Moulding insisted on maintaining complete control at IPO, holding both the executive chair and CEO roles. The arrangement raised eyebrows in the City but investors were willing to overlook it so long as the going was good.

The current crisis shows investors were right to be concerned. Good governance isn’t just something to bang on about — it preserves value and can protect a business.

Some more grey hair in the boardroom would be invaluable right now. Experienced directors know what public market investors want — and don’t want — to hear. Moulding clearly doesn’t: the stock is down 60% so far this year. Blaming short sellers for your problems never goes down well.

Moulding’s missteps show THG needs an overhaul at the top. He should step aside as chair and bring in an independent with public market experience to take the role.

THG’s boardroom needs a shake-up — and fast.

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