EMBATTLED transport group National Express yesterday won the backing of three shareholder advisory groups ahead of its May annual meeting.
ISS, PIRC and US-based agency Glass Lewis, which advise institutional shareholders, all now publicly support the board.
National Express’ largest shareholder, activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors, has proposed three new directors join the board to overhaul strategy and consider the firm’s sale or merger.
ISS told members to oppose all Elliott’s resolutions and support the board. “The turnaround led by CEO [Dean] Finch (pictured) has been a success, with National Express significantly outperforming peers since its 2009 rights issue,” it said. “The dissidents have not met their burden of proving that some change on the Board is warranted”.
PIRC also recommended members vote against Elliott’s resolutions. “The board has gone through significant change recently...which indicates the nomination committee’s willingness to make governance changes,” it said.
It also expressed concern at one of Elliott’s three proposed directors, Marc Meyohas, saying he “appears to have no history of sitting on the board of listed companies other than...a company that Elliott invests in.”
Elliott has said Meyohas was sourced independently by two recruitment agencies.
Proxy voting on all AGM resolutions closes on 4 May.