Lookers is preparing to shake-up its board of directors in the search for ‘new skills and experience’ to guide the car retail group through the next phase of its development.
The top AM100 retailer will make sweeping changes to its board as it battles to recover from the impact of a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigation, internal fraud investigations and the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Senior independent director, Richard Walker, and Sally Cabrini, the non-executive-director and chair of Lookers’ Remuneration Committee, have both confirmed that they will not stand for re-election at the annual general meeting (AGM) on June 29.
Stuart Counsell, non-executive director and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee has agreed to remain on the board until the completion of the 2019 results and the appointment of his successor.
Non-executive director, Tony Bramall, meanwhile, has indicated he will not stand for re-election at the 2021 AGM.
In a statement issued today (June 24) statement said that a search is now underway for a new non-executive chairman and two new non-executive directors, one of whom will fill the role of chair of the Audit and Risk Committee.
Lookers said that efforts to refresh and strengthen the board were being made for the long-term future of the business, under the leadership of Mark Raban as chief executive officer.
Chairman, Phil White, said: “The Group has faced many significant issues in the recent past, both externally and internally, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19.
“As a board, we have had to take many difficult decisions and it has been critical to be able to draw on the experience of all the members of the board and to have had consistency during this challenging period.
“The board recognises the need to bring in new skills and experience to guide the business through the next phase of its development.”
At the request of the board, White will assume the role of executive chairman, with effect from July 1, to oversee this transitional period.
White said: "I remain committed to resolve the group's legacy issues, reshape the Board and ensure that the Group is strategically well positioned to exploit the many opportunities ahead."
Non-executive director, Heather Jackson, a former chief information officer at HBOS who was appointed to the group in November last year, will act as senior independent director from July 1 and become chair of the Remuneration Committee on completion of the 2019 results.
Former Capital One chief operating officer, Vicky Mitchell, a non-executive director recruited in December last year, will assume the role of chair of Lookers Motor Group Limited, the FCA regulated entity, with effect from July 1, subject to regulatory approval.
White said: “With our dealerships reopened, we believe now is the time to put in place plans for the future of Lookers. As a result, we have agreed an orderly transition to refresh the board over the coming months.
"I am extremely grateful to my colleagues on the board for their hugely valuable contribution and commitment.
“In particular, I would like to thank both Richard Walker and Sally Cabrini, who are leaving the Board after next week's AGM, for their support and contribution to the group over many years.”
Earlier this month Lookers revealed that it expects to be hit by a temporary suspension of shares trading after conceding that its 2019 annual financial results will not be published in time for the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) June 30 deadline.
The troubled retail group revealed that additional procedures must be completed by itself and its auditor, Deloitte, in light of a report into the findings on a company-wide investigation into alleged fraud activities, before the results can be finalised.
News of the stalled results came less than a fortnight after the group announced that it plans to close a further 12 car dealerships and make up to 1,500 redundancies as part of a restructure plan targeting annual savings of £50 million.