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Premier Foods boss narrowly survives shareholder revolt

Two of Premier’s biggest shareholders had called on investors to vote against Gavin Darby’s re-election, with one claiming it had “completely lost faith” in him
businessman celebrating in field
Premier rejected a 65p a share takeover offer back in 2016

The boss of Premier Foods PLC (LON:PFD) narrowly survived a revolt from angry shareholders looking to oust him from his role.

Just under 41% of the food maker’s shareholder voted against the re-election of Gavin Darby at the food maker’s annual general meeting this afternoon.

Dissatisfaction has been growing with the 61-year-old ever since Premier rejected a 65p a share offer from US food giant McCormick back in 2016, since when the stock has fallen by almost 25%.

In the build-up to the AGM, the firm’s second and third largest shareholders, Oasis Management and Paulson & Co, had called on investors to get rid of Darby, with Oasis previously saying it had “completely lost faith” him.

But he had the support of both the board and Nissin, the company’s top shareholder by some distance, and managed to secure 59% of the vote – just enough to keep him in a job.

“A majority of shareholders who voted followed the board's advice in supporting the re-election of Gavin Darby, CEO, to the Board of the company, and the board appreciates their support,” said chairman Keith Hamill.

“Over recent weeks we have had discussions with a substantial proportion of the major shareholders, which has included listening to the concerns expressed by those whose support we have still to earn.  The Board will give careful consideration to all shareholders' views.”

READ: Premier Foods posts solid Q1 update

Earlier today, Premier reported a 1.7% rise in first-quarter sales, boosted by a strong performance from its Mr Kipling cakes – its largest brand.

Premier shares are down 4% in late afternoon trading.

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