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easyJet beats off founder’s attempt to remove Chairman

PTI London | Updated on August 14, 2012 Published on August 14, 2012

British no-frills airline easyJet today fought off a bid by founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou to have the company’s chairman Michael Rake removed owing to his link with scandal-hit Barclays.

A resolution to eject Rake failed to win majority backing by shareholders, but the vote was nevertheless close, with 53.3 per cent rejecting the proposal.

“EasyJet announces that the resolution to remove Sir Mike Rake as director and chairman of easyJet plc was today defeated by a majority of its shareholders,” the airline said in a statement on Monday.

Haji-Ioannou, whose family are the airline’s biggest shareholder with a 37-per cent stake, had claimed Rake should go since much of his time would now be taken up with sorting out the Libor-rate fixing scandal at Barclays bank.

Rake is deputy chairman of the British lender.

“This vote does not change the simple fact that Mike Rake was asleep at the Barclays switch when the Libor scandal broke,” Haji-Ioannou said in a separate statement issued today.

“I hope this sad episode will highlight the need for tougher guidelines on the number of corporate directorships any one person can hold,” he added.

Barclays was in June fined $453 million by British and US regulators after admitting that it attempted to manipulate the Libor and Euribor rates between 2005 and 2009.

Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, is a flagship London instrument used as an interest benchmark throughout the world, while Euribor is the eurozone equivalent.

The rates affect what banks, businesses and individuals pay to borrow money, while the scandal risks engulfing banks across the world.

Barclays last week said bank industry veteran David Walker would become its new chairman from November, succeeding Marcus Agius who resigned over Libor.

Barclays is also looking for a new chief executive after US national Bob Diamond quit the post at the start of July along with Agius and the bank’s chief operating officer Jerry del Missier.

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Published on August 14, 2012
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