Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Shareholder ASI wants 'clear progress' on succession of Ryanair chairman

Shareholder ASI wants 'clear progress' on succession of Ryanair chairman

"While there is a view that a 21-month transition agreement from March 2019 to December 2020 will be implemented (and extended), recent events in the United Kingdom political sphere have added to this uncertainty, and we believe that the risk of a hard Brexit is being underestimated".

"One share, one vote is a fundamental pillar of good governance that companies should uphold", Hamilton Claxton said.

Non-EU shareholders will be forced to decide whether they retain their shares without any voice in the company or whether they "simply wash their hands" of the affair and walk away, said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould. "The recent labour unrest, operational issues, and the decision to take away our voting rights under a hard Brexit scenario has crystallised our concerns".

Last month Ryanair and Irish pilots' union Forsa reached an agreement, the trade union said, and the threat of job losses was averted. "Excessive tenure also calls into question an individual's independence and objectivity and our engagement on governance matters suggests that the board is not listening carefully enough to shareholders' views".

Before the meeting Pensions & Investment Research Consultants, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, ISS and Glass Lewis have all called on shareholders to vote against the re-election of David Bonderman, the United States billionaire who has been in his position on the board since 1996.

Councillor Ian Greenwood, LAPFF's chair, said the airline had failed to address its "troubled relationship with employees and the potential impact on its business".

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Events and decisions taken before January meant it was "probably unavoidable" that the launch would fail, according to the report. It is not yet clear if the DfT will be ruling anything out, although renationalisation is unlikely to be high on the list.

But the 57 year-old said: "I'm not sure Mrs O'Leary would be happy".

A spokesperson for Ryanair said: "Ryanair shareholders will pass all AGM resolutions by a large majority this year, including the nomination of directors and chairman, as they have done in all previous years".

"We hope Mr Bonderman and the board will heed the message shareholders have sent today and announce plans for him to step down".

Ryanair's long-serving chairman has survived a shareholder rebellion but investors have demanded change at the airline after a summer of strikes and flight cancellations, and accusations of a weak board unwilling to stand up to management.

"I think now it's becoming a low fare, high blood pressure airline", Dublin shareholder Donald O'Mara, 79, told AFP as he arrived.

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