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Flybe rejects major shareholder’s demands to sack chairman

On Monday, Hosking Partners demanded the board replace chairman Simon Laffin with Eric Kohn, who it said should also be allowed to carry out a full investigation into the sales process

flybe chairman
Flybe is adamant that it “has acted at all times in the interests of its shareholders”

Flybe Group PLC (LON:FLYB) has rejected a request from one of its major shareholders to oust the struggling airline’s chairman.

Earlier this week, Hosking Partners, which holds a 19% stake in Flybe, wrote to the board and demanded it sacks Simon Laffin, suggesting that he should be replaced by experienced aviation executive Eric Kohn instead.

But the budget carrier, which recently agreed to be bought out by a consortium backed by Virgin Atlantic in a cut-price £2.2mln deal, said such a request must be made by a member of the company.

READ: Flybe backs under-fire chairman

“Flybe has therefore invited Hosking to procure that a valid request under section 303 [of the Companies Act 2003] is submitted,” read a brief statement on Wednesday afternoon.

On Monday, Hosking also asked Flybe to be allowed to carry out a full investigation into the sales process, although the company once again said this would not be possible.

“Flybe has also informed Hosking that the resolution to direct the directors to appoint Mr Kohn to conduct an investigation would, if proposed, be ineffective as the company's Articles of Association do not confer on members the necessary powers.

“However, Flybe has also confirmed to Hosking, that, if appointed, a new director of the company would enjoy the usual rights to information and freedoms of action enjoyed by all directors.”

At the bottom of the statement, it added: “The board reaffirms that it has acted at all times in the interests of its shareholders and all its stakeholders through an extremely difficult and challenging period.”

Flybe shares were down 10.3% to 3.8p on Wednesday afternoon, implying that shareholders expect the 1p-a-share offer to be rejected.

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