Don’t look now fellow Fools, but embattled Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX: MYR) share price could soon be hit by a new challenge.
The department store’s second largest shareholder looks to be withdrawing its support for Myer’s board. This leaves it vulnerable the next time Premier Investments Limited’s (ASX: PMV) chairman Solomon Lew comes rattling the cage.
Calls for board restructure
Fund manger Geoff Wilson is calling for Myer to shrink the size of its board and cut directors’ fees, reported the Australian Financial Review.
The move probably reflects his frustration at the 60% crash in the Myer share price over the past year.
Geoff Wilson is the chair of Wilson Asset Management (WAM), which owns 7.8% of Myer – making it Myer’s second largest shareholder behind Solly Lew.
Is Myer vulnerable to an attack?
Wilson teamed up with Investors Mutual to block Solly from rolling Myer’s board in 2018 and was a vocal supporter.
WAM is reportedly still a supporter of current management but Myer may find it harder to fend off another attack from Solly as Investors Mutual sold most, if not all, of its 10% holdings in Myer.
Solly tried to install a couple of directors to Myer’s board when it picked up a 10.8% stake in Myer for $1.14 a share back in March 2017.
Myer fighting multiple battles
That move was blocked by Investors Mutual, according to the AFR, and Solly’s $101 million investment in Myer has shrunk by around 80% since. Ouch!
Looking at his track record, he’s unlikely to give up trying to take control of Myer and I think it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again.
This means Myer’s board will need to watch its flank as it battles the tectonic online shift that is rendering its traditional business model obsolete.
Other ASX stocks hit by board shake-up
The rising risk to Myer’s board comes at a time when the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index:^AXJO) is struck by a string of shake-ups at the top of some high-profile companies.
The latest was Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) after it blew up the Juukan Gorge and its CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques’ future with the miner.
Rio Tinto continues to face pressure from shareholders, the community and politicians to restructure its board.
Another corporate icon, AMP Limited (ASX: AMP), also saw a big reshuffle at the top for its extremely poor handling of a sexual harassment scandal. The AMP share price collapsed as a result and remains in the doldrums even with renewed leadership.
Meanwhile, the QBE Insurance Group Ltd (ASX: QBE) share price is also on a slippery slope as its CEO Pat Regan was shown the exit. His fall from grace comes after the insurer investigated a complaint from a female employee.
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The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Premier Investments Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.
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