Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou puts removal of easyJet chairman Sir Michael Rake to shareholder vote amid row over Barclays role
Sir Michael Rake’s tenure as chairman of easyJet will be put to the test on Monday when shareholders vote at a meeting called by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of the low-cost airline and largest shareholder.
At the meeting in a hangar in Luton, representatives of Haji-Ioannou are expected to outline reasons why Rake, a former senior accountant, should step down. The company has urged shareholders to back Rake and said when the meeting was called last month it had assurances from seven institutional investors that they would vote against the resolution.
It is the third extraordinary general meeting Haji-Ioannou has called in 11 months. At the annual meeting in February, investors backed the chairman.
Haji-Ioannou controls about 37% of the shares and also lost a vote on remuneration, although 44% of the votes were cast against the bonuses for senior management, including the chief executive, Carolyn McCall, a former head of Guardian Media Group. Turnout was high at the annual meeting when 87.5% shareholders cast their vote.
Rake has been under increasing pressure from the easyJet founder since he became linked to the role of chairman at Barclays. Rake withdrew from the process of heading the troubled bank, prompting Haji-Ioannou to say: “If he’s not good enough for Barclays then he’s certainly not good enough for easyJet. Our message going into next month’s EGM is clear. We don’t want any Barclays castoffs.” Barclays appointed Sir David Walker as chairman on Thursday; Rake remains deputy.