Date: 31st October 2011
On behalf of: Western Selection P.L.C. ("the Company" or "Western")
For immediate release
Western Selection P.L.C.
Western Selection P.L.C. ("Western") (owner of 1,869,149 shares in Swallowfield
representing 16.5%) announces that it will vote against the appointment of Dr.
Martin Hagen to the board of Swallowfield PLC at the AGM of Swallowfield on 3rd
In view of Martin's hugely distinguished and eminent career as an accountant,
auditor, regulator and university administrator, in all of which vocations he
has held positions of high responsibility, the board of Western has decided to
make it clear that this vote is in no way a negative reflection on Martin.
Western wishes to make clear that Martin had Western's full support to fill the
position of Senior Independent Director but unequivocally not in the position
of Chairman. Western has concerns over Martin's lack of experience as a
director in the small cap quoted company sector and his lack of executive
familiarity with the types of complex operational, chemical, marketing and
logistics processes of an aerosol and cosmetic formulation business turning
over £57m. Absent such familiarity, Western believes that Martin will
inevitably be unable to bring to bear the necessary critical, technically
informed and yet constructive engagement with executive management necessary to
The Swallowfield board had previously indicated that it would seek to confer
with significant shareholders before the appointment of a new Chairman. Western
does not believe that such a process was carried out thoroughly enough.
Western's preferred candidate for the position of Chairman is Mr. Stephen Boyd,
which was communicated to the board of Swallowfield during the recent
appointment process. Stephen is an individual who although not having reached
the pinnacle of any professional body, nevertheless has a first class degree in
Chemical Engineering from Imperial College, and has been an entrepreneur,
promoter and experienced businessman for over thirty years in a wide variety of
listed and private companies. Stephen has had easily verifiable successes (and
failures!) in a number of different business segments which share many aspects
with the challenges facing Swallowfield.
Western believes it more likely that greater value will be created for
Swallowfield shareholders with Stephen as Chairman of Swallowfield.
Western further states that its vote against Martin is in no way designed to
suggest that he would not make a valuable contribution in the position of a
non-executive director. Western has previously suggested that he would be ideal
to chair the audit committee and take on the position of Deputy Chairman.
Notwithstanding these suggestions, which were made after the removal of the
previous Chairman from the office of director by way of shareholder votes at an
Extraordinary General Meeting, and which suggestions were recently repeated,
the Swallowfield board has not felt it necessary to take Western's views into
account. For these reasons Western will be voting against Martin as director
whilst he continues as Chairman and, in the view of Western, a more suitable
candidate is available.
Western also notes with satisfaction the recently announced share purchases by
directors; including 100,000 by Stephen and 31,500 by Martin.
Western Selection P.L.C. 020 7448 8950
Loeb Aron & Co. Ltd. 020 7628 1128
Notes to Editors:
The Company is an investment company and the investment policy is to hold
strategic stakes in a few smaller UK quoted companies and maintain a
diversified portfolio of U.K. and overseas quoted multinational stocks,
together with a few holdings on AIM, PLUS and some unlisted shares. Strategic
Investments are minority positions where the Board seeks to maintain a close
working relationship with the management of the investee. Western is
represented on the boards of three of its four Strategic Investments.