Sky News has learnt that Andrew Tinkler, who owns 5% of Stobart, has tabled a series of resolutions aimed at forcing directors to disclose details of a lucrative remuneration scheme at its aviation division.
Stobart, which owns Southend Airport and recently took a stake in the regional airline Flybe as part of a consortium involving Virgin Atlantic, acknowledged in its annual report published on Thursday that a share award to chief executive Warwick Brady was “not consistent with the directors’ remuneration policy”.
In a letter to Stobart seen by Sky News, Mr Tinkler said that Mr Brady’s pay package was not aligned to shareholders’ interests and demanded an overhaul of the company’s treatment of investors.
He added that a 65% fall in the company’s shares over a two-year period was largely the result of “governance failings” and accused directors of allowing Mr Brady to focus on its aviation activities “for his personal gain”.
Stobart recently drafted in a veteran of corporate turnarounds, David Shearer, as its new chairman, with an effort to unify shareholders following protracted legal disputes likely to be at the top of his agenda.
Woodford Investment Management, the fund manager engulfed in a crisis after it blocked investors from withdrawing money from one of its funds last week, and Invesco Asset Management, are among Stobart’s big shareholders.
They took opposing sides in an effort to oust Iain Ferguson, the outgoing chairman, last year.
Mr Tinkler was sacked as a director last year and then mounted a legal case to be reinstated, accusing the board of gerrymandering the vote to keep him at bay.
A bitter legal fight then ensued which found that Mr Tinkler had breached his director’s duties but also resulted in Stobart withdrawing its allegation that he had made improper expenses claims.
In his letter to the company, Mr Tinkler also raised concerns about the role of John Coombs, the remuneration committee chairman, and said Stobart had failed to disclose details of a £160m incentive plan for its aviation business.
Stobart also has interests in biomass energy but is now not directly related to the haulier Eddie Stobart.
Mr Tinkler’s letter and tabling of resolutions ahead of its forthcoming annual meeting reignites hostilities which have periodically erupted ever since his ousting.
The enmity between the two sides took a further twist earlier this year when Mr Tinkler bought a stake in Flybe and tried to prevent its sale to the Stobart-Virgin Atlantic consortium.
Stobart has continued to endure a difficult time since last year’s AGM, announcing in March that it was slashing its dividend in order to invest in expanding Southend Airport.
Its shares are down nearly 60% over the last year, giving the company a market value of just over £405m.
A spokesman for Mr Tinkler declined to comment.