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Van Elle founder attempts board return

Company founder Michael Ellis and Van Elle’s board are continuing to clash over the future of the business.

Ellis issued a statement to shareholders last week calling into question the actions of the board and trying to seek a position on the board for himself and his son in law.

The Van Elle board has said it is “disappointed by Ellis’s behaviour” and considerd his actions to be “disruptive and damaging to the company, its shareholders and its stakeholders.

The Van Elle board today issued a statement refuting the claims made by Ellis and urging shareholders vote against the “Ellis Resolutions” at a general meeting planned for 15 December.

The Van Elle board said: “In the board’s opinion, the Ellis Statement reinforces its previous concerns that the Ellis Resolutions serve to promote the interests of Ellis and his, not necessarily to the benefit of the company and its other shareholders, and that it is his intention that the Ellis family exert significant influence over the conduct of the board in the future.

“The Ellis Statement, while vague as to the exact roles Ellis and his son in law, Thomas Lindup, would have on the board, makes it clear they would hold executive positions within a reduced board containing only two independent non-executive directors.

“In addition, the board notes with concern that Ellis has already secured indications from three additional unnamed non-executive directors to join the board, presumably once he has secured his own election through the Ellis Resolutions. This board of eight directors, envisaged by Ellis, would include himself, his son in law and the three unnamed non-executive directors selected by Ellis without an independent board selection process. The board believes this board composition could allow the Ellis family to exert significant influence over the conduct of the board in the future.

“In the Board’s view, this again demonstrates that Ellis has failed to accept that Van Elle is no longer a private family business in which he has majority control.”

Ellis has also claimed that the company is going backwards under the current management and said that staff morale is low. The board does not accept either of these views.

The board has said that there is growth across all four divisions with revenues of £53M expected to be announced for the six months to 31 October, which is up from £43.1M for the same period in 2016.

The board has warned that Ellis’ actions could adversely impact the process to select a new CEO following the departure of Jon Fenton from the business last month.


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