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Lakehouse board urges shareholders to reject Steve Rawlings' boardroom return

The Lakehouse board has urged shareholders to reject proposals for a shake-up which would see the company’s founder Steve Rawlings return to the boardroom.

In a statement issued this morning, the board slammed 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.

“Steve Rawlings’ lack of involvement in the group and track record as a director since 2012, together with his lack of experience as a director of listed companies, does not suggest that he has the necessary skillset to be able to provide a meaningful contribution to the board or the group going forward,” the board said.

“The requisitionists’ actions have caused unnecessary disruption to, and uncertainty within, the operations of the business at a time when the board wants to focus on the trading performance of the group.”

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

The shareholders proposed the directors – Jill Ainscough, Jonathan Ford and Chris Geoghegan – be replaced by Mr Rawlings, Ric Piper and Robert Legget.

But the Lakehouse board members have today urged shareholders to reject the boardroom shake-up.

Commenting on proposals, Mr Geoghegan said: “We urge all of our shareholders to consider carefully the circular that we have published today.

“Your board is particularly concerned that the requisitionists have not provided any information in relation to their strategic vision for the company.

“Their silence on this important matter is especially concerning given they are asking to remove every single existing non-executive director and to replace them with their own candidates.

“The requisitionists’ proposals would reduce the level of independence on the board, damage the company’s compliance with the UK Corporate Governance Code and result in all the non-executive directors representing only one particular group of Lakehouse shareholders in preference to other Lakehouse shareholders.

“Accordingly your board unanimously recommends voting against the resolutions.

“The board confirms that the company remains on track to deliver its revised expectations for the current financial year.”

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