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Pinewood Chairman refuses to quit the board

29-Jun-2010 • Bond News

Former ITV chairman Michael Grade has fended off calls from a major investor to quit the board of film studios Pinewood Shepperton.

Mr Grade, who has been Pinewood's chairman since his involvement in a management buy-out from Rank Group in 2000, was targeted by investment fund Crystal Amber on the eve of the company's annual meeting in London.

The activist fund, which has an 18% stake, highlighted Mr Grade's "poor stewardship" as chairman of the company and said the board needed fresh leadership.

Mr Grade, who was not up for re-election at the AGM, said he continued to hold the support of the majority of shareholders.

The former ITV boss said: "Our latest discussions with our other major shareholders, representing a clear majority, give us confidence that they support the board, its stewardship and strategy, reports the UKPA.

"The board will continue to run the business in the interests of shareholders as a whole."

Profits have fallen by half since flotation in 2004 but Crystal Amber invested in Pinewood 18 months ago because it said there was underlying value in the business not appreciated by the market.

Crystal approached the board with proposals of its own to enhance perceptions of the value in the business, which is best known for the James Bond films.

Crystal's investment adviser Richard Bernstein said: "Although these proposals were initially received well by management, we have seen no action and subsequent meetings with Mr Grade have been unproductive.

"We have experienced his poor stewardship of shareholder interests at first hand and have regrettably come to the conclusion that he has neither the desire nor the wherewithal to deliver."

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