Omega rebels demand board heads for exit

ACTIVIST shareholders have lashed out at struggling insurer Omega, saying that they expect the firm to “do the right thing” and initiate a boardroom shake-up.

Investors who are exasperated with the company’s poor results under chief executive Richard Pexton have now publicly set their sights on removing him and a number of other directors.

Yesterday Richard Bernstein of activist fund Crystal Amber criticised Pexton’s performance, telling City A.M.: “The buck stops with him. The management of the sale process, where the company has been in bid talks for 18 months without making a decision shows a lack of leadership and whilst there is uncertainty this is bad for the business.

“It’s very unsettling and almost unprecedented to have such a long bid process. I don’t think they’ll ignore the will of the shareholders. I don’t think it will be necessary to call an EGM,” he added.

Bernstein says that other investors have approached him following “unacceptable” management decisions at the Lloyd’s of London insurer.

It is understood that Crystal Amber’s motions have secured the backing of leading shareholders who collectively own around a third of the business.

Since Pexton took over as chief executive in March 2010 the share price has almost halved from 117p to 61p as the firm undergoes a lengthy sales process.

Just four years ago shares in the firm were trading at 172p but it is now the subject of a 65p per share offer from rival Canopius.