Solomon Lew calls for Myer board to resign after increasing shareholding

Solomon Lew calls for Myer board to resign after increasing shareholding

Premier Investments chairman Solomon Lew.

Premier Investments (ASX: PMV) chairman Solomon Lew has called for the entirety of what he alleges to be a "failed" board of retailer Myer (ASX: MYR) to resign immediately as his listed vehicle increases its stake in the department store.

In a statement regarding PMV's acquisition of 41.1 million additional shares in Myer for $1.6 million, giving it an overall effective stake of 15.77 per cent, Lew slammed the MYR board's inaction on leadership of the company.

"We remain bitterly disappointed by Myer's performance which continues to be disastrous for Myer's many shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers," Lew said.

"It's now been more than eight months since then Myer chairman, Garry Hounsell abruptly resigned on the morning of Myer's 2020 AGM citing lack of key shareholder support for his re-election. On that day, Myer announced that Ms JoAnne Stephenson had been appointed acting chairman of Myer while a global search would be undertaken to find a replacement chairman.

"We are stunned that Premier has not heard from the acting chairman at any stage. Neither the acting chairman nor any of the remaining directors have bothered to pick up the phone to the company's major shareholder about reconstituting Myer's emaciated board which is bereft of the retail experience, skills and talent required to turn the business around."

As such, Lew demanded change at Myer and called for a spill of the retailer's board.

"In a market where innovative, experienced retailers are benefitting from rapid change, Myer continues to go backwards and its board is missing in action," Lew said.

"Something has to change, and Premier has put itself in a position to make change happen.

"Premier calls on the failed Myer board to resign immediately.  We will work with other shareholders to reconstitute the Myer Board with directors who have expertise across retail, property, logistics and e-commerce so that Myer can reverse its decline."

Lew's statement comes just a few months after Myer reported a revenue dive of 13.1 per cent to $1.4 billion in 1H21.

However, the company's bottom line was bolstered by $50.7 million in JobKeeper payments, resulting in the department store posting a 76 per cent increase to its interim profits for the December half.

CBD sales took a 32 per cent hit, with Myer blaming the impact on restricted CBD workforce levels, less tourism and subdued confidence from continued shutdowns.

On the flip side, the company saw a 71 per cent increase in its online sale to $287.6 million over the previous year with beauty and homeware items showing the sharpest rises.

Shares in Myer closed 14.86 per cent up to $0.42 per share at the close of trade yesterday in response to PMV's new share purchases in the retailer.

 

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