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Martin Gilbert under pressure to step down as FirstGroup chair
by Dylan Lobo on May 28, 2012 at 08:24
Aberdeen Asset Management chief executive Martin Gilbert (pictured) is under pressure to relinquish his chairmanship of transport firm FirstGroup.
According to the Financial Times, a series of profit warnings from FirstGroup have put the spotlight on Gilbert, who has been on the board since the firm was founded in 1995.
The paper said a number of the ten biggest shareholders in FirstGroup have questioned whether Gilbert can run Aberdeen Asset Management and at the same time turning around fortunes at the group.
One shareholder is reported to have said: ‘The performance of FirstGroup is worrying. The share price is down more than 30% this year. He has been there a long time and maybe it is time for a change.’
Another shareholder is quoted to have said: ‘Mr Gilbert’s position is solid at Aberdeen because the company is doing well. FirstGroup is not doing well, so we have to look at that and ask ourselves why? Aberdeen’s share price has risen 77% in the past two years.’
There was better news from FirstGroup last week when it said full-year profit had more than doubled, thanks to strong performance from its UK rail and coach divisions.
Investec Securities was cautiously optimistic on the firm’s prospects following the results. Shareholders in FirstGroup have had a torrid time recently with two major profit warnings in the last eighteen months,' Investec said.
‘Today’s news should come as a relief, as the group has delivered the results expected.This is a potential recovery stock, although we prefer to wait a bit longer before investing.
According to the shareholder register dated 15 May seen by Wealth Manager, US firm Capital Group was the biggest shareholder in FirstGroup with a 7.6% stake. Other major investors included Majedie Asset Management (5.25%), Legal & General Investment Management (3.24%) BlackRock (3.12%) and AXA Financial (2.56%)
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