Financial News

  • 28 April 2014, 14:28

Myners To Chair Huntsworth In Board Shake-Up

Lord Myners, the former City minister, is being lined up to chair Huntsworth, one of the UK's biggest independent public relations firms, weeks after he endured a bruising public skirmish over reforms at the Co-operative Group.

Sky News has learnt that Lord Myners has agreed in principle to take the helm at Huntsworth, which owns agencies such as Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Red.Myners To Chair PR Firm Huntsworth

His appointment, which could be announced as soon as Tuesday, will see him replace Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs partner as Huntsworth's chairman.

Joe MacHale, the senior independent director, is also understood to have decided to resign from the board.

Several senior City sources said on Sunday that one of the triggers for the departure of Mr Sharp and Mr MacHale was growing tension between them and Lord Chadlington, Huntsworth's chief executive.

Lord Chadlington is unusual among the bosses of listed companies for a guaranteed contractual entitlement to an annual pay rise and bonus, with some board directors said to be unhappy about his pay.

The arrival of Lord Myners, a prominent advocate of strong corporate governance, adds an unexpected layer of intrigue to a relatively low-profile listed company.

Huntsworth, which has a market value of just under 225m, is unusual among London-quoted businesses in having a Chinese peer as its largest shareholder.

Blue Focus, one of Asia's biggest PR groups, paid 36.5m for a stake of almost 20% exactly a year ago.

Lord Myners, who served as City minister during the last Labour government, will next month present his final proposals for reforms of the Co-op's structure.

His blueprint, which includes more independent board directors, has met stiff resistance from some of the regional societies which wield influence over the crisis-hit mutual.

Lord Myners' other roles include chairmanships at Autonomous, an equity research firm; Cevian Capital, an activist investor; and Nomad Holdings, a cash shell that is seeking a major takeover target.

A Huntsworth spokesman declined to comment.

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