Victoria director hits out as vital meeting looms

AN OUSTED director at carpet maker Victoria has criticised the firm’s board, saying management is not acting in shareholders’ interests ahead of a crucial vote at Friday’s annual meeting.

Alexander Anton, a member of the firm’s founding family who stepped down recently over a disagreement on pay, told City A.M. that Victoria’s board “used every trick in the book” to remove him and two other non-executive directors on 8 August. He added that investors “feel the company is being run for the benefit of management rather than shareholders”.

Anton and another ex-director Geoffrey Wildes have the support of Victoria’s biggest shareholder New Fortress Finance for a return to the board just weeks after they left. Investors will vote on their appointments in October. Anton says he has two-thirds of support for the motion that would also remove interim directors David Garman and Roger Hoyle and chairman Katherine Innes Ker.

Friday will test shareholder resolve ahead of the later vote, with Garman and Hoyle’s full appointments to be decided, alongside re-elections of directors Alan Bullock and Barry Poynter.

Victoria, which made the carpet for the royal wedding, saw Anton, Wildes and Innes Ker join in March along with former CBI president Sir Bryan Nicholson. The three men were made to resign after proposing a scheme to reward them for selling the firm.

Innes Ker said: “We urge all shareholders to ensure their voice is heard so that they are not subjugated to the will of minority shareholders,” adding Anton’s plan gave him “extraordinary rewards simply for being on the board”.