As a former editor of the Sun newspaper, Kelvin MacKenzie knows a thing or two about campaigning against people.
In 1992, MacKenzie’s paper declared “It’s the Sun wot won it” after Labour leader Neil Kinnock lost the General Election to the Tories. The newspaper’s front page had previously told its readers: “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights?”
A quarter of a century on, and MacKenzie has found a new target. The former newspaperman and his son, Ashley, are attempting to oust the chairman and a non-executive director of digital media and social video company Brave Bison.
Between them, the MacKenzies own eight per cent of Brave Bison shares, and will be voting against the re-appointments of chairman Sir Robin Miller and non-exec Paul Marshall at the firm’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.
One angry shareholder seeking to oust Miller, who asked not to be named, told City A.M.: “He is the Theresa May of the online video business. No leadership, no hope.”
They added: “If Miller went into the funeral business, people would stop dying.”
The MacKenzies may not get too far, however. A source familiar with the situation described their action as a “protest vote” and said that Brave Bison’s three largest shareholders have voted in favour of the re-appointments.
Formerly known as Rightster, Ashley Mackenzie was chief executive of the company. He resigned in January this year, with the company citing a “disagreement with the board, as represented by the non-executive directors, on the future strategy of the company and the timing of any potential exit”.
It is understood that Ashley MacKenzie was pushing for the company to put itself up for sale, a move that was resisted by the board. If Miller is ousted, it is understood Ashley MacKenzie would put himself forward as executive chairman.
Since 9 January, when Ashley MacKenzie’s departure was announced, Brave Bison’s share price has dropped from 3p to 1.24p at the time of writing.