22 May 2020 14:37
EasyJet shareholders have backed the carrier's senior management and rejected a campaign by founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to remove board members over a £4.5bn order for Airbus planes. The airline said investors voted against ousting four directors, including chief executive Johan Lundgren and chairman John Barton. Mr Barton said all four resolutions were defeated, with over 99pc of votes cast by shareholders – excluding those cast by Sir Stelios and his family – being in support of the airline's management. He added: "On behalf of the board I would like to thank shareholders for their support. The airline industry is facing unprecedented challenges and the board's immediate priority has been to take the necessary steps to successfully guide easyJet through this period of uncertainty.
"We are relentlessly focused on cash conservation and ensuring that easyJet emerges from the Covid-19 crisis in a strong competitive position. The board seeks good relationships with all of the company's shareholders and hopes to be able to re-engage constructively with Sir Stelios." The Greek-Cypriot billionaire, who together with his family owns a 34pc stake in the low-cost carrier, triggered the vote over the £4.5bn deal he wants scrapped. Sir Stelios has repeatedly been at odds with the firm's current management, including Mr Lundgren, over the airline's expansion. Since launching his campaign against the carrier's leadership at the end of March, Sir Stelios slammed easyJet bosses as "scoundrels" for refusing to back down to his demands, and has threatened to sue them. Initially, he said he would attempt to remove chief financial officer Andrew Findlay, as well as non-executive director Andreas Bierwirth.