Arsenal Supporters' Trust opposes re-election of chairman Keswick and Kroenke Jr

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust will vote against the re-appointment of chairman Sir Chips Keswick and Josh Kroenke to the board of directors at Thursday’s annual general meeting in a bid to show “significant corporate governance change is needed”.

The Premier League club will host shareholders at the Emirates Stadium, where Stan Kroenke – who holds a 67 per cent stake – has been urged to outline his future vision.

As part of each AGM, a one third of the directors must retire on rotation from their position and seek re-election. Despite opposition from the AST, chairman Keswick and Josh Kroenke, son of the American owner, are highly unlikely not to be re-appointed to the board.

Nevertheless, the AST believes opposition to carrying the motion unanimously will at least provide an opportunity to air their grievances.

“Our action and vote is a statement that we believe significant corporate governance change is needed. Whatever the outcome of Thursday’s AGM, we call upon the directors at Arsenal to address these significant corporate governance failings,” the AST said in a statement on Wednesday.

“All of the non-executive directors have been in office for far too long and are not regarded as independent under the corporate governance code.

“There is therefore no independence from the controlling shareholder, no-one free of conflict of interest, and not enough diversity on the board or people with relevant professional skills, such as football expertise.”

The AST statement added: “The reason for this course of action is to demonstrate dissatisfaction at the current ownership and governance arrangements.

“In particular we feel that the present directors are not acting with sufficient independence, nor representing the interests of the small shareholders, or the future custodianship of the club.”

Earlier this month, Arsenal’s second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov maintained he was “not holding any talks” over selling his 30 per cent stake to Kroenke and that his interest in the Gunners was “long term” despite not having been offered a place on the board.

The AST wrote a letter to Kroenke, who took a controlling interest in the London club in 2011, ahead of the AGM, and wants the American to continue to engage in constructive dialogue.

“It is by working together that Arsenal will become a stronger footballing institution,” the AST letter concluded.

Source: PA

Published at Wed, 25 Oct 2017 11:24:02 +0000