Solomon Lew is going for a second strike against the ‘failed’ board of Myer

  • Fashion retail industry veteran Solomon Lew is urging shareholders to record a second strike against the “failed” board of directors of Myer.
  • This would cause a spill of all board positions.
  • Lew is the chair of Premier Investments which has a 10.8% holding in Myer.

Billionaire fashion retailer Solomon Lew has opened a new round in his campaign to get rid of the current board of directors of department store Myer.

He plans to use the company’s AGM on November 30 to seek a second strike vote — which needs more than 25% of shareholders — against the remuneration report.

This would mean, following last year’s 29.3% vote against the remuneration report, that all board of director positions at Myer would be spilled.

Lew, as chairman of Premier Investments, which has a 10.8% holding in Myer, today wrote to shareholders seeking support in bringing the “failed” Myer Board to account for the “destruction” caused.

“Myer is our company — it belongs to us, the shareholders,” he writes.

“Yet the current board has treated it as a personal piggy bank, taking excessive fees while they destroy our investment in Myer.

“For example, the Chairman, Mr Garry Hounsell, having sacked the CEO, Richard Umbers, accepted the role of Myer Executive Chairman earning the equivalent rate of $1 million per annum.

“Yet Mr Hounsell had no retail experience and no relevant credentials to take the position, let alone the exorbitant remuneration.”

Premier Investments says the new CEO, John King, and his management team need a new board of directors to help them steer Myer out of danger.

“Mr King has a daunting challenge ahead of him, and it will be impossible for him to achieve success for Myer shareholders if he is under the direction of a Board that does not understand and foreshadow the future challenges,” says Lew.

“The failed Myer Board have sunk the share price, removed our dividends, sent the company into massive losses, constantly changed management, constantly changed strategies, made disastrous acquisitions, opened op-shop discount clearance floors, refused to even acknowledge issues until it is too late and have no idea how to get Myer out of its costly and unnecessary property leases.”

Myer in September posted an annual loss of $486 million. King, who was appointed CEO in June, then said: “Shareholders deserve better.”

The company has been cutting costs, ditching managers and executives, negotiating rent reductions and renegotiating its loan deal with banks.

Myer shares are trading at $0.485 today, down from a 12 month high of $0.81.