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Shareholder pressure increases at THG as calls for the removal of its chair continue

Sophie Smith
10 June 2024

Another shareholder at THG has joined the recent calls for the removal of its chairman Lord Charles Allen as investors put pressure on the business to address its flagging share price.

Dutch investment firm Ophorst Van Marwijk Kooy Vermogensbeheer has joined calls from minority shareholder Kelso to vote against the re-election of Lord Allen of Kensington as chairman of THG, according to The Times.

Ophorst Van Marwijk Kooy Vermogensbeheer is the British company's tenth largest investor, with a stake of 1.89%.


The news comes after Kelso demanded the removal of Lord Allen last month as it continues pushing for a shake-up of the group.

It plans to vote against Lord Allen’s reinstatement at an upcoming annual general meeting, criticising a "lack of action and clarity" from the board on how they will boost THG’s share price.

Lord Allen, the former boss of ITV, was named chairman in 2022 with the task of overhauling THG’s structure, amid concerns that CEO Matthew Moulding had too much control over the business.

Since then, Moulding has given up his contentious so-called golden share that allowed him to block any attempt to take over the company, along with several other corporate governance initiatives.

But THG, which owns brands such as Cult Beauty, Lookfantastic, Glossybox, Biossance and Illamasqua, among others, has also endured a difficult trading period, having slashed 2,500 jobs since early 2022 and losing £252 million last year. That was an improvement on a £549 million loss the year before.

Ophorst said it would join the likes of Oliver Cookson, the founder of Myprotein who holds a 1.6% stake in THG, and Kelso in voting against the company's chairman at its AGM on 24 June.

One City source told The Times: "Voting against a chairman is a harsh thing to do, but action is required. You can’t continue to kick the can down the road and promise to do things you then don’t do. Change is needed here."

Moulding has previously blamed hedge funds, short-sellers and the media for the decline in THG’s share price.

In a LinkedIn post, he said: "It’s sadly become standard practice for a select few within the world of hedge funds, media and bank analysts to regularly build negative coverage against UK-listed companies, including THG.

"The purpose of ‘the game’ is simple: bet that a share price will fall and make sure you win the bet by doing everything possible to discredit the company."

Kelso said last month: "While major strategic and structural issues remain unaddressed, the poor share price cannot be blamed on the London Stock Exchange. As a result of the lack of progress, we plan to vote against the chair at the upcoming AGM."

THG declined to comment.

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