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Van Elle chief executive Jon Fenton to step down

Van Elle chief executive Jon Fenton is to step down from the company due to a serious medical matter within his close family.

In a trading update this morning, the firm announced that Mr Fenton wished to step down as director once a suitable replacement had been found.

The company said the medical matter has become acute in recent weeks, and will see Mr Fenton commit an increasing amount of time to supporting his family.

CN reported earlier this month that Van Elle founder Michael Ellis was attempting to regain control of the firm from Mr Fenton.

In a stock exchange filing on 13 November Mr Ellis called for both Mr Fenton and senior independent director Robin WIlliams to be removed.

However, Van Elle hit back at the former founder today, stating that Mr Ellis did not have an “understanding of the rules related to quoted companies”. The firm’s board has also resolved to vote against all measures proposed by Mr Ellis.

The company has convened a general meeting of shareholders for 15 December.

In a statement the firm said: “The board believes that these requests reflect both a refusal by Mr Ellis to acknowledge that the company is no longer a private family business in which he has majority control and a lack of understanding of the rules related to quoted companies.

“The Board believes that the recent actions of Mr Ellis are driven more by his personal agenda than the interests of the shareholders as a whole. In addition, your Board considers Mr Ellis’ actions to be both disruptive and damaging to the Company, its shareholders and its stakeholders.”

Commenting on Mr Fenton stepping down Van Elle chairman Adrian Barden said: “Jon has played an important role in the significant growth and development of the company in recent years for which we are very grateful.

“He and the management team have delivered a robust performance in the first half and the group is well-placed for the future.

“While we are disappointed that Jon cannot continue as chief executive in the long term, the board understands and supports Jon and his family in this decision.

“Van Elle is fortunate to have strength and depth across our management team and while Jon will remain in post until his successor is appointed, we have organised responsibilities among the team to ensure continuity and also to allow Jon to take time away from the company as required.”

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