Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Mears activist investor reveals boardroom battle

The investor that moved to oust Mears chairman Bob Holt has welcomed the news that a replacement will be picked by October.

Shareholder Value Management (SVM) had called for a shareholder meeting to vote on replacing Mr Holt (pictured).

Mears subsequently announced that Mr Holt would not seek re-appointment at the next AGM in June 2019. 

SVM did not agree with this timescale, and put forward an additional proposal on 12 July for Andy Hogarth to be appointed chairman.

Mears has now confirmed that Mr Holt’s replacement will be selected by October, with the proposed shareholder meeting called off as a result.

SVM director Gianluca Ferrari told Construction News that he welcomed the outcome.

“It gives the board the ability to run a process and identify a replacement for Bob, and hopefully the new chairman can come in and [help] this company to shine,” he said.

Mr Ferrari said SVM had been in talks with Mears regarding its performance for the past 18 months.

He claimed that Mears’ share price had underperformed as a result of Mr Holt’s chairmanship, citing particular issues around the firm’s capital allocation.

SVM wanted to see a new chair in place to challenge the current chief executive David Miles, who Mr Ferrari said the investor thinks “very highly of”, and for Mears to focus on its housing maintenance business.

At the time of SVM’s initial call for a shareholder meeting, Mears expressed its “dissatisfaction” with SVM’s attempts to replace Mr Holt and bring in Mr Hogarth, adding that board appointments were “not a matter for a single shareholder” to decide.

Mears said today that Mr Hogarth would be considered in the search for a new chairman.

Mr Ferrari said Mr Hogarth had “set the bar very, very high”.

“We think he is an exceptional candidate, so anybody the board identifies, I think, will have to either be Andy or surpass him in a very clear fashion,” he said.

SVM is acting on behalf of German fund Frankfurter Aktienfonds für Stiftungen.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.