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Thu November 21 2019

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Van Elle needs me back, Ellis insists

11 Dec 17 Van Elle founder Michael Ellis has fired back in his bid to win shareholder support to return him to the board of the piling contractor.

Michael Ellis
Michael Ellis

“If I am disruptive, it is with cause,” he says today, in response to accusations by the board he is seeking to overthrow that he is causing trouble for the company.

Michael Ellis, 73, founded Van Elle in 1984, floated it on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in October 2016 and retired in January 2017. Now he wants back in and shareholders meet in London this week – 15th December – to vote on his resolutions.

Mr Ellis issued a statement to shareholders today in rebuttal the board’s statement of last week. [See our previous report here.]

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He says: “The board of Van Elle accuses me of being disruptive, self-interested and unable to let go. This is untrue. I stress – I care deeply about Van Elle and all of its employees and stakeholders… If I am disruptive, it is with cause. I will unashamedly highlight the inadequacy and complacency of the current board since it is in the interests of all shareholders to do so.”

He says that he remains particularly concerned by the lack of growth at the company since the initial public offering last year. He also suggests that the employees miss his ‘caring’ leadership. “I worry that morale and motivation is poor and that staff have been damaged by a weak and aloof leadership team," he says. "I can reinvigorate the competitive advantage these people give us but only with an understanding and caring management team in place.”

His statement concludes: “In my view, the current board is weak and strategically adrift in an industry they appear not to understand. Only by bolstering this board with executives with a history of success will the company succeed in providing the returns to all shareholders that I know we should expect.”

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