Monday 15 August 2016 8:48 am

Speedy Hire on the end of another rottweiler attack after chairman holds ground

Activist investor Toscafund has this morning launched a fresh attack on Speedy Hire.

Toscafund, which is the main shareholder in the company, has called for the ousting of chairman Jan Astrand.

Read more: Toscafund urges Speedy Hire chairman to resign ahead of general meeting

The activist, whose chief executive Martin Hughes has the nickname Rottweiler in the City, asked for him to be removed last week ahead of a special general meeting it has forced for September.

But Astrand and Speedy batted away the calls on Friday.

And on Monday morning Toscafund hit back again, describing Astrand’s presence at the company as “detrimental”.

Read more: It's time to purge the stock market's noticeboard of PR puff

Toscafund claimed the appointment of a non-executive director, Robert Contreras, “contravened good governance rules”. It said: “Jan Astrand has a previous longstanding association with Robert Contreras, and supported his appointment as finance director and chief executive at Northgate, where he was a director. In appointing Contreras, Jan Astrand clearly ignored good governance requirements that apply to the selection of truly independent directors.”

The investor also accused the chairman of having “privately undermined” the firm’s chief executive, adding: “Toscafund notes that there is no denial from Jan Astrand on this matter.”

The latest letter added: “Jan Astrand has now offered to revert to being a non-executive chairman next month. Toscafund does not believe this is credible. Having spent more than a year as an executive chairman, and having overseen failed merger discussions, Jan Astrand can no longer be considered as independent or non-executive in any sense of the terms. The only solution is for Speedy Hire to elect a new, independent non-executive chairman.”