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Marconi agm kicks off; Simpson holds firm
Plus an interesting political tidbit for you
As expected, the Marconi annual general meeting has been a lively event with a number of furious shareholders calling for the resignation of Lord Simpson (we couldn't possibly comment).
Chairman Sir Roger Hurn kicked off by saying: "Clearly, the Company and its shareholders have just gone through an extremely difficult period in our history. Let me take this opportunity to explain the background to recent announcements and to reassure you, our shareholders, as to the actions your Board is taking to restore operational performance and to rebuild confidence in the Company's prospects after the regrettable events of the last two weeks."
The company is standing firm and insisting that they need Lord Simpson. He is trying to save his arse by promising a "full operational review" over the next few months. It seems unlikely however that he will find he has behaved incompetently and ought to fire himself.
Sir Roger backed up Lord Simpson saying: "The Board firmly believes that George Simpson, with his solid industrial background and operational experience is the right man to lead the company through this challenging period." He also said the forced-out John Mayo had done nothing wrong and Lord Simpson has been retained instead of him because "I, and the other non-executive directors felt that George Simpson had more experience to manage the Company through this difficult period. This view was communicated by George to John, and, in light of this information, John resigned."
It's all a load of tosh of course and investors are rightly furious that they've seen their shares plummet in price. Marconi also ruled out a BT-style rights issue, saying it still has good credit if needs be. It you want to read more excuses, look at Marconi official release here.
And here's an interesting factoid: Iain Duncan Smith - one of the two men left in the Tory leadership election - used to be an exec at Marconi.
And talking of BT, we have yet to hear quite what happened at its agm in Nottingham today. We'll fill you in tomorrow. ®