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Van Elle founder moves to oust CEO

The founder of specialist contractor Van Elle, Michael Ellis, is attempting to regain control of the company from current chief executive Jon Fenton.

In a stock exchange filing today, the ground engineering specialist confirmed that Mr Ellis had called for a shareholder meeting proposing that Mr Fenton and senior independent director Robin Williams be removed.

Mr Ellis is proposing that he and his son-in-law Thomas Lindup be appointed as directors, the filing said. 

An insider told Construction News that Mr Ellis was concerned over how the company’s share price had performed.

“Michael’s not happy about it, he would have wanted them to have doubled [from the price the company floated at],” the source said.

“If Michael does go back, he will make damn sure the shareholders get a return on their investment.” 

Van Elle floated at 101p a share in October last year, with the price performing well for the first four months following the IPO.

However, since March the price has dropped and was down to 94p last Friday. 

Shares in the group are today trading down around 12 per cent at 82p. 

Mr Lindup left his role as Van Elle’s group managing director in March less than a year into the position.

At the time Van Elle said Mr Lindup had departed to “pursue new opportunities” and that he would not be directly replaced.

Mr Lindup’s exit came not long after Mr Ellis had retired as chairmen following the firm’s float.  

In July, Mr Fenton told CN the business was planning an acquisition spree and had a hit list of companies it was looking to buy. The company raised £40m from its float, with the business valued at £80m.

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