m and g dobell public with discontent

M&G’s Recovery Fund, run by Tom Dobell, has made an announcement about its concerns regarding standards of corporate governance at Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), of which it holds 5.1%.

m and g dobell public with discontent


The asset manager said the separation of the roles of chairman and chief executive had been a step in the right direction for the AIM-listed firm, but there remains much room for improvement.

On Thursday last week GKP announced the appointment of Simon Murray as non-executive chairman and independent director of the company. He is also to be made chairman of the company’s remuneration committee at its next meeting.

GKP also said it is continuing the search for at least one other independent non-executive director.

M&G said it had discussed its concerns about corporate governance at GKP with two of the company’s other non-executive directors and was also looking to meet with Murray as soon as possible.

The fund’s chief issue of contention is the current remuneration level for directors. In 2012, for example, CEO Todd Kozel was paid $13.6m in cash, plus $9.1m in deferred cash. This was during a year when the company declared a pre-tax loss of $80m M&G noted.

The fund group believed the true value of the company’s assets would not be reflected in its share price until there has been a substantial strengthening of its board. For this reason it has voted against the re-election of two existing directors and voted in favour of the four independent candidates proposed two weeks ago: John Bell, Jeremy Asher, Thomas Shull and Philip Dimmock.

In response to M&G’s statement GKP said it was “wholly disingenuous” for the fund manager to state they are seeking a meeting with Murray because attempts to set one up on GKP’s part had been ignored.

GKP said it was also disingenuous of M&G to say the appointment of Jeremy Asher would be an independent one given his interests as a significant shareholder of the company.

Currently, each of the four candidates proposed by M&G are having comprehensive due diligence conducted on them and GKP said it will report back to shareholders imminently with its recommendations.



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