News Column

Humiliation for Morrisons bosses as investors revolt

June 6, 2014

By Peter Campbell, Daily Mail, London



June 06--Beleaguered Morrisons executives were yesterday subjected to a double-humiliation of a major shareholder revolt and a dressing down from the company's former boss, writes Peter Campbell.

Some 27pc of investors voted directly against the company's pay policy, while 14pc voted against chief executive Dalton Philips.

Votes from the meeting were still being counted last night, so the final numbers which will be released to the stock market today could be even higher.

Investors have been frustrated by a string of poor results as well as a strategy that has seen the grocer play laggard to larger rivals in launching internet shopping and convenience stores.

The embarrassing ballot came as Sir Ken Morrison, son of founder William Morrison, launched a stinging attack on Philips and the board calling their strategy 'bulls(ASTERISK)(ASTERISK)t'.

A 50-year career saw him build the business from a small family firm into Britain's fourth biggest supermarket. Speaking at the group's annual meeting in Bradford yesterday, he said: 'When I left work and started working as a hobby, I chose to raise cattle.

'I have something like 1,000 bullocks and, having listened to your presentation, Dalton, you've got a lot more bulls(ASTERISK)(ASTERISK)t than me.'

The unprecedented assault piles more pressure on Philips, who has already faced calls to quit after a string of dismal results.

Morrisons yesterday sought to quell investor anger by announcing that chairman Sir Ian Gibson would step down after the meeting even though a replacement has not yet been found.

The grocer has been lagging behind larger rivals and losing market share to cut-price competitors Aldi and Lidl forcing it to pledge pounds sterling 1bn in price cuts to stop it losing ground.

It was also the last of the Big Four supermarkets which include Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda to offer groceries online, and has only just begun opening high street convenience stores.

Shares, which have lost a quarter of their value in the past 12 months, dropped 1.3p to 192.5p yesterday.

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Source: Daily Mail (London, England)