Why Endeavour shares are making headlines on Wednesday

Former Woolworths executive Bill Wavish wants a seat on the board to drive a "much-needed turnaround".

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Endeavour Group Ltd (ASX: EDV) shares are down 0.47% to $5.275 in lunchtime trading amid drama at the board level of the liquor and hotels giant.

Let's take a look at what's happening.

Endeavour shares lower amid board fight

Former Myer chair and Woolworths executive Bill Wavish has nominated himself for a seat on the board.

He says Endeavour is being poorly run and "it's a travesty to see the amount of money that's being lost".

But it appears Wavish, who is an Endeavour shareholder, is unlikely to receive the regulatory approvals required for eligibility to stand for election before the annual general meeting (AGM) on 31 October.

Wavish has the backing of Endeavour's largest shareholder, Bruce Mathieson Senior, but not the board.

In the notice of the AGM today, the Endeavour board recommended shareholders vote against Wavish.

The board says he doesn't have the regulatory approvals in place. It also says it hasn't had enough time to assess his application because it was received on the last day possible on 28 August.

Who is Bill Wavish?

Wavish was a senior executive at Woolworths between 1999 and 2004.

He oversaw the expansion of Dan Murphy's from a small network in Victoria to a household name.

He organised the formation of BWS and led the acquisition of Mathieson's hotels business.

In his statement to shareholders in the AGM notice, Wavish points out that under his guidance, Woolworths overtook Coles as the market leader for liquor sales, and the liquor chain went from 42 to 574 outlets over five years.

Wavish is concerned about Endeavour's rising debt levels and the market positioning of Dan Murphy's.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) quotes Wavish today:

I know this business really well. It's a travesty to see the amount of money that's being lost.

I bought some shares in the belief that I can make money, but also I've got a particular soft spot for Dan Murphy's.

In The Australian, Wavish said he was "committed to securing a board seat and working collaboratively on a much-needed turnaround".

Mathieson described the current board as a "disgrace", saying:

We need people on that board who can turn the company around from just bad management. And that's what's happened.

We've lost about $4.5 billion in capitalisation under this management in the last two years.

We are going backwards under the current management of Peter Hearl and Steven Donohue.

Endeavour shares have fallen 16% in the year to date and 24% over the past 12 months.

Motley Fool contributor Bronwyn Allen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has positions in and has recommended Coles Group. 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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