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Stobart in crisis as former boss Tinkler seeks to oust chairman

Hannah Boland
Stobart Group owns London Southend Airport - PA

The future of Stobart Group's chairman was cast into doubt this evening, after the company's former chief executive vowed to vote against his re-election at an upcoming annual general meeting.

Andrew Tinkler, who only stood down as chief executive last year and still holds a 7.7pc stake in Stobart, has informed the board of his plans to vote against the re-election of Iain Ferguson as chairman and a director of the company.

Stobart, the owner of London Southend Airport, said its board has also heard from two other shareholders, who together own 25.5pc of the business, that they will be voting against re-appointing Mr Ferguson to the chairman post.

The board was thrown further into crisis on Friday after two of Stobart's non-executive directors, Andrew Wood and John Coombs, said they would resign if the chairman was removed. 

Stobart said all other directors apart from Mr Tinkler had "full confidence" in Mr Ferguson and were recommending shareholders back him at the upcoming vote. It has already received written confirmation that its largest shareholder, Invesco Asset Management, with a 24.8pc stake, would be voting in favour of Mr Ferguson's re-election.

Stobart did not provide any explanation for why Mr Tinkler, who remains an executive director on its board, was seeking to oust Mr Ferguson. 

The pair had worked closely together for just under four years in the two top posts, up until Mr Tinkler's resignation last year.

At the time, Mr Ferguson had said he "looked forward to working with Andrew" in his new executive director role.

Stobart had said Mr Tinkler was leaving to "allow him to focus on his strengths and seek out new entrepreneurial initiatives", in a move that he had been planning for some time. 

He took up a post as chairman of an independent business called Stobart Capital which looks for investment opportunities.