Jun 24, 2018

Premier Foods investor ratchets up pressure to oust chief

The second-biggest shareholder in Premier Foods has called for the removal of chief executive Gavin Darby as part of its campaign against the leadership of the highly indebted company, which makes Mr Kipling cakes. In a scathing statement released on Sunday, Oasis, a Hong Kong-based investment group which holds an 8.6 per cent stake in Premier Foods, called for Mr Darby "To be removed with immediate effect following years of persistent shareholder value destruction, poor financial performance, consistent missed targets, a lack of strategy and weak corporate governance". Last week, Oasis said it intended to vote against the re-election of Mr Darby - who has been chief executive since 2013 - at next month's annual meeting, and has urged "Fellow shareholders to do the same". The board of Premier Foods, headed by Keith Hamill, who became chairman in November, has backed Mr Darby and has recommended his re-election. "Gavin Darby, who frustratingly has driven Premier Foods into its current zombie-like state, has no credible strategy to return Premier Foods to growth and as the largest independent shareholder, we have completely lost faith in him. It is time for change," said an Oasis spokesperson.

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