Boss could walk over 'threat' to Kidderminster's Victoria Carpets

Kidderminster Shuttle: Carpet fears: Alan Bullock says he will walk away from Victoria Carpets if the company loses a second boardroom battle inside nine months. Carpet fears: Alan Bullock says he will walk away from Victoria Carpets if the company loses a second boardroom battle inside nine months.

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."

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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.”

Comments (1)

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11:33pm Thu 23 Aug 12

Arsiep says...

It seems the New Fortress Finance people are determined to force this through to make personal profit at the expense of the reputation of Victoria and the jobs of the people employed by them. Short term gains like the consortium intend will destroy the Anton family reputation built during their 100 year plus relationship with the company and almost certainly bring about the demise of Victoria Carpets.
Their action has already cost Victoria Carpets £200,000 plus in holding off the attacks. How long will it be until their main customers of John Lewis and those in insurance lose confidence and faith, withdraw custom and the business falters.
Jobs in our town need defending not eradicating.
What a shameful bunch they are!

Let’s hope Alan Bullock “rallies the troops” and beats off the opposition.

“Once more into the breach………”
It seems the New Fortress Finance people are determined to force this through to make personal profit at the expense of the reputation of Victoria and the jobs of the people employed by them. Short term gains like the consortium intend will destroy the Anton family reputation built during their 100 year plus relationship with the company and almost certainly bring about the demise of Victoria Carpets. Their action has already cost Victoria Carpets £200,000 plus in holding off the attacks. How long will it be until their main customers of John Lewis and those in insurance lose confidence and faith, withdraw custom and the business falters. Jobs in our town need defending not eradicating. What a shameful bunch they are! Let’s hope Alan Bullock “rallies the troops” and beats off the opposition. “Once more into the breach………” Arsiep
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