THE managing director of a Kidderminster carpet firm has threatened to quit if he loses a second boardroom battle in nine months, amid fears the company could be broken up and “destroyed”.
Victoria Carpets’ Alan Bullock made the statement after the firm’s board was forced by shareholders New Fortress Finance to hold a general meeting before October, 6, in which three directors, including chairman Katherine Innes Ker, could be axed.
New Fortress Finance wants to appoint former chairman Alexander Anton and Geoffrey Wilding – who resigned as non-executive directors just two weeks ago – and Andrew Harrison to the board.
Mr Bullock says he fears the group would try to set up an incentive scheme which, in order to implement, could see the company broken up, which could affect jobs in Kidderminster if they chose to sell the Worcester Road plant.
Mr Anton described the suggestion as “rubbish”.
In March, Mr Anton, Mr Wilding, Ms Ker and Sir Bryan Nicholson were voted on to Victoria’s board.
On August 8, Mr Anton, Mr Wilding and Sir Bryan resigned following a row over the incentive scheme.
“I will resign and leave the company if we lose this vote,” said Mr Bullock. “I am not prepared to work with them to see the destruction of everything I love and worked for for 40 years."
Mr Bullock said he turned down the offer to join the “very rare” scheme.
Mr Anton said: “The scheme was dead two months ago. In the end it was decided it was not going to work. The shareholders will decide what is or is not an appropriate manner of remuneration.”
The boardroom battle has caused intense family rivalry with Alexander Anton’s second cousin, Rupert Anton, a shareholder, siding with Mr Bullock.
Rupert Anton said: “The [proposed directors] are risking permanent damage to Victoria’s reputation.
“They might end up winning the battle but will end up with a company they have ruined.”
Alexander Anton denied his appointment would hurt the company.
“Back in January, Mr Bullock put Victoria up for sale without any consultation,” he said. “If that is not destroying the company, I don’t know what is. The board used every trick in the book to bring about our resignation, without consulting shareholders. It is in conflict with shareholders’ wishes and as a result they have chosen to requisition another general meeting to bring about change.”
Mr Bullock said: “It is vitally important Kidderminster does not lose another carpet manufacturer and organisation which is outperforming the market.”