Stobart chief accused of fostering 'bullying culture', over actions in retaliation to controversial letter

 
Emily Nicolle
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The company, which owns Southend Airport, is knee deep in a public row with its former chief executive
The company, which owns Southend Airport, is knee deep in a public row with its former chief executive

Chief executive Warwick Brady has waded in on the letter which saw over 20 unnamed executives write to the board of Stobart Group, requesting the resignation of its chairman.

The letter in question called for Iain Ferguson to step down ahead of the company’s annual general meeting next month, as a result of reported unhappiness at an increasingly public row between former CEO Andrew Tinkler and the company’s board over Stobart’s future.

Today, further reporting from Sky News has said that Brady immediately contacted a number of board managers to ask if they would be supporting Tinkler’s motives, according to people close to the discussions.

Some of these executives then informed Tinkler of Brady’s actions, which one ally suggested amounted to “harassment”, prompting him to complain further to the board.

A follow-up letter from Tinkler to leading shareholders on Saturday, seen by City A.M., suggested that over 80 per cent of the executive leadership team at Stobart are in favour of replacing Ferguson with Philip Day, chief executive of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.

Read more: Stobart board battle hots up as pressure grows on chair

Tinkler’s letter railed against the “public mud-slinging in which some of my fellow directors have seen fit to engage”, and said that he had been “horrified” at recent announcements made by the company.

Last week, Stobart’s board launched a £3.8m High Court claim against Tinkler over a tax dispute connected to the company’s acquisition of a rail and civil engineering company in 2008.

Tinkler himself has also sued the board in return for defamation, claiming the company’s public announcements on 28 May contained untrue statements about himself which only revealed “a fraction of the truth”.

A spokesperson for Stobart issued the following statement to City A.M.:

“The Company received an undated, unsigned letter from an undisclosed source purporting to be on behalf of unnamed members of the Stobart executive team. There has been no further contact”.

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