LAPFF increases pressure on Ryanair chairman re-election

The Local Authortiy Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF) has again called on Ryanair to replace its chairman David Bonderman after the firm’s recent failure to tackle employment issues.

The forum said it also plans to file a resolution calling for Ryanair to publish succession plans for its CEO Michael O’Leary “as soon as is practical”.

LAPFF chair Ian Greenwood wrote to Ryanair’s chair of the nomination committee Michael Crawley about issues surrounding Bonderman on 12 October, but Ryanair did not respond.

The pensions forum, which represents the pension funds of local authorities and has combined assets of £230bn, also has concerns over Bonderman’s independence, having held the position for the past 22 years.

Furthermore, Bonderman also led an investment vehicle 1996 Air GP, which holds a minority interest in Ryanair.

In September, 70.5 per cent of shareholders voted to keep Bonderman in place, and despite Ryanair saying they would listen to shareholder concerns said he could continue in his role for "a year or two".

Currently, LAPFF members hold around 1 per cent of Ryanair's shares. To file a shareholder resolution at an Irish company's AGM requires 3 per cent of shares.

In the letter, Greenwood said: "Since the AGM, it appears Ryanair faces a prolonged transition to a more stable employment model and improved industrial relations. As long-term shareholders, we believe that Ryanair can continue to grow and prosper, but also consider that this must involve change.

“However, Ryanair’s governance has not kept pace with these changes. We consider that more genuinely independent representation on the board could have ensured that these changes were achieved more smoothly.

“Given the absence of a formal announcement of any board changes, it is our intention to file shareholder resolutions at the next AGM on 19 September 2019 calling for the appointment of a new, independent chair by the end of 2019 and the communication to shareholders of the board’s succession plans for the chief executive as soon as is practical.”

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