Lakehouse shareholder slams governance

In a note to the stock market, Slater Investments chief investment officer Mark Slater, who has called for an overhaul of Lakehouse’s board, repeated his request for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders.

Mr Slater said: “We have requisitioned this general meeting to address the serious governance deficit on Lakehouse’s board with a view to restoring shareholder value through the proposed appointment of the new non- executive directors.”

The Lakehouse board is resisting proposals for a boardroom shake up, put forward by Slater Investments and fellow shareholder, Lakehouse founder Steve Rawlings.

Mr Rawlings and Slater Investments demanded the removal of three non-executive directors from the board on 9 March, following the shock resignation of the company’s chief executive Sean Birrane the day before.

In a statement issued last month, the board criticised Mr Rawlings’ “lack of experience” and “lack of involvement” with the business.

They also said the proposal had caused “unnecessary disruption” and “uncertainty” across the business.

But Mr Slater today said: “The board has attacked the proposed candidates in its circular to shareholders despite making very different noises in private and has argued that if we are successful the newly configured board will not be compliant with the UK Corporate Governance Code.

“The proposed candidates have committed to addressing the balance between executive and non-executive directors in due course.

“However, they will initially focus on far more important issues.

“Corporate governance is not just about box-ticking.”

In a response sent to shareholders, the Lakehouse board said: ”While the board is considering the requisitionists’ statement, it notes the reference to private noises made by Slater Investments. As you know, the board announced its intention to seek a fourth independent non-executive director.

The board, reflecting on the views expressed by some Lakehouse shareholders, did meet with Slater Investments on Tuesday 22 March 2016 to discuss the possibility of appointing a fourth non-executive director. Your board considered this action sensible and appropriate in order to avoid further adverse disruption, and unnecessary cost, that the company has now suffered.

“The Lakehouse board urges all shareholders to vote against the resolutions put forward by the requisitionists.”

The board added that it would respond in more detail next week.

Mr Slater’s criticism comes just days after Construction News spoke exclusively to Mr Rawlings about his concerns for the company.

In today’s statement Mr Rawlings said: “I founded Lakehouse in 1988 and have become deeply concerned by recent events as my family has a substantial investment in the company.

“The business has great potential and I hope to be able, along with Ric Piper and Robert Legget, to help get Lakehouse back on track and then to fulfil its considerable potential.”


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