EasyJet to rebuff bid to oust Rake

EasyJet is set to rebuff an attempt by the low cost airline’s founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to oust Sir Michael Rake as chairman.

At a shareholder meeting at Luton Airport today, Sir Stelios will present a resolution to eject Sir Michael, who is also deputy chairman of Barclays, in the wake of the Libor-rigging scandal that sent shockwaves through the British banking giant.

Sir Stelios, who with other members of his family controls 37.5% of EasyJet, first expressed concern about Sir Michael’s position when it emerged he was a potential candidate to take over as Barclays chairman after Marcus Agius stepped down following the rate-fixing affair.

Sir Michael ruled himself out and the role was filled on Thursday by Sir David Walker, but Sir Stelios has remained opposed to Sir Michael’s position.

The row is the latest in a series of spats between the airline’s founder and its directors.

Earlier this year, Sir Stelios was defeated in his attempt to throw out a multi-million pound pay deal for executives. More than 97% of easyJet investors, apart from the 38% stake owned by Sir Stelios and his family, voted to pass the airline’s remuneration deal.

He also failed to encourage enough investors to reject the re-election of four directors, including Sir Michael.

EasyJet last month said it had received written statements from seven of its top City shareholders, with 26.5% of the shares, indicating they would vote against the resolution to remove Sir Michael.

EasyJet is one of Europe’s biggest airlines, employing more than 8,000 people. It flies 55 million passengers a year on more than 600 routes across 30 countries.

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