An extraordinary general meeting could be called in the near future at Healthcare Locums (HCL) as investors round on chairman Alan Walker. The move is the latest bout of shareholder activism in the UK, following the removal of F&C’s chairman Nicholas MacAndrew last week.
Walker took control at the AIM-listed company two weeks ago after serious accounting irregularities were brought to the attention of the board; this led to the suspension of HCL’s shares pending an investigation.
At the time, the company also suspended its executive vice chairman Kate Bleasdale and CFO Diane Jarvis. Bleasdale, who founded HCL and maintains an 11 per cent stake in the company, has vowed to clear her name.
As a chartered accountant and chairman of the audit committee, Walker is at least partially responsible for what has gone on, it is argued. ‘He is an accountant who was paid by shareholders to provide supervision and he has failed miserably. His credibility is close to nil,’ one investor told the Daily Mail.