Property firm’s board in bitter outburst at Sweett coup effort

DIRECTORS at Sweett Group yesterday launched an astonishing attack on its former chairman over his attempt to force himself back into the property firm.

The company’s board accused Francis Ives, who left Sweett three years ago, of being “motivated by emotion” and of not acting in the best interests of the firm, and said that he simply “wants his old job back”.

Ives, who owns four per cent of the company, has forced a general meeting for next month in which shareholders will vote on a proposal to oust current chairman Michael Henderson and replace him with Ives.

The board yesterday claimed that Ives wants to eventually become executive chairman, and said that it already has enough votes pinned down to ensure he will not win his battle.

“Not only has Francis Ives failed to articulate a cohesive strategy, he has also made clear his desire to return to the group as executive chairman, demonstrating an attitude towards corporate governance which is not consistent with the standards expected of a publicly quoted company,” independent director Nicholas Woolacott said.

Ives, who worked at Sweett for over 40 years and was chairman from 1991 to 2000, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Last month he said that Sweett’s annual loss in 2012 was “the final straw”.