Pub operator Mitchells & Butlers has attempted to patch up a spat with investors by accepting two of the board nominations of majority shareholder Joe Lewis.
The company said in a statement today that it would recommend the appointment of John Lovering and Simon Burke as non-executive directors. But it recommended rejecting attempts to appoint two others - Fitness First founder Michael Balfour and former S&N managing director Jeremy Blood.
It also called on shareholders not to vote in favour of the proposal of Lewis's investment vehicle, Piedmont Inc, to remove former chairman Drummond Hall from the board, saying it had been made "without any justification".
Piedmont has also been seeking to remove Simon Laffin, the current chairman, from his post as a director of the company.
"Should Piedmont Inc's proposed resolutions be passed, Piedmont Inc would effectively have determined the composition of a majority of the Board, in nominating five directors (or if it exercises its right to appoint two further representatives, six directors) and in trying to remove both the previous and current chairmen," the statement said.
"We believe that this is an inappropriate degree of control for a single minority shareholder to have over a properly constituted public company."
The move comes after a drawn-out wrestle for power at the company, which was first revealed when M&B announced it would submit evidence to the City takeovers watchdog that its biggest shareholders were trying to take over the firm.
A few days later M&B unveiled Simon Laffin as its new chairman, and ejected Piedmont representatives Richard McGuire and Douglas McMahon. They were followed by Denis Jackson, Ray McSharry. All four were thought to have opposed Laffin's appointment.
Shareholders are set to vote on the proposed board appointments at an annual meeting on 28 January.
By Neil Gerrard
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