Eddie Stobart chairman forced out after profits downgrade

Jan 22, 2013

It's rare for a woman to run a haulage company but Avril Palmer-Baunack becomes executive chairman

ACTIVIST shareholders have ousted chairman Rodney Baker-Bates and another non-executive director from haulage firm Eddie Stobart. Invesco which owns 37 per cent of the company famous for its green and red lorries, has engineered the appointment of Avril Palmer-Baunack as executive chairman, according to The Times.

The ousting of Baker-Bates and non-executive director David Beevor comes a week after a profit warning by the group which has seen its share price fall by 21 per cent in a year, leaving Stobart worth £330 million. The firm has also shut its chilled food business. Analysts say discontent has been brewing among shareholders for some time, with two profit downgrades in six months.

Palmer-Baunack was boss of Autologics which was acquired by Stobart last year. Although chairmen are not supposed to hold executive roles she will run the company alongside chief executive Andrew Tinkler. A woman at the top of a haulage firm is a rarity. Starting her career as a desk clerk at a car rental firm, Palmer-Baunack will be in charge of a workforce of 5,600.

In addition to lorries, the group owns airports in Southend and Carlisle and has a biomass energy business and a property business encompassing shops, warehouses and offices. A £101 million deal to buy property from Tinkler and William Stobart, another director, faced criticism a year ago.

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