Aircoach owner defeats investor attempt to oust board members

Chairman Hauser will step down from the company at July shareholder meeting

As well as Aircoach, FirstGroup also runs Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express. Photograph: Frank Miller

As well as Aircoach, FirstGroup also runs Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express. Photograph: Frank Miller

 

Aircoach owner FirstGroup has defeated attempts by an activist investor to oust six board members, including the chief executive and chairman.

However, following the shareholder vote, chairman Wolfhart Hauser said he would step down from the company at the next annual shareholder meeting in July.

A special meeting in central London on Tuesday saw shareholders overwhelmingly vote against US investor Coast Capital’s plans to install six of their own handpicked replacements.

Votes against the current board members varied from 25 per cent for three board members, including chief executive Matthew Gregory. Mr Hauser saw 29.33 per cent of the votes go against him, and James Winestock, almost lost his seat, with 45.6 per cent of shareholders voting against.

FirstGroup, which also runs Great Western Railway, South Western Railway and TransPennine Express, opposed the plans, but with Coast already owning a 9.7 per cent stake, the company was forced to put the proposals to a vote.

The media was banned from attending the meeting, but shareholders said afterwards that they were disappointed with some of the responses from the chairman. – PA