Stelios still demands change at EasyJet

EASYJET founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou yesterday said he planned to announce further steps “to protect shareholder value” next week despite the company announcing that deputy chairman David Michels was stepping down.

The airline said Michels, who was due to leave at the end of the year, will quit immediately to spare the airline “the cost and distraction” of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) that Stelios was calling for to vote on his departure.

Stelios, who is EasyJet’s largest shareholder through his EasyGroup Holdings company and has been at odds with the board over its expansion strategy, had called for Michels to step down over a deal by the company to buy 145 Airbus planes which he claims will damage profitability.

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In a statement EasyJet said that the EGM would now not be called as Michels’ resignation “removes the sole purpose of the EasyGroup Holdings request”.

But in his response Stelios said : “The unwillingness of Michels and the rest of this board to put this matter to a shareholder vote proves that they have lost all legitimacy to run this company. They no longer enjoy the trust of the majority of the shareholders.”

Following Michels’ departure, Charles Gurassa will become deputy chairman. Andy Martin, group finance director for Compass Group, and former KPMG partner Adle Anderson will also join as non-executive directors with effect from the beginning of next month.

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