Menzies chairman retires in latest upheaval

Edinburgh-based airport services and news distribution company John Menzies said on Wednesday that its chairman Iain Napier “informed the company of his wish to retire” after eight years on the firm’s board.

Menzies shares rose about 3.5%.

Menzies — currently under shareholder pressure to split into two separate aviation services and distribution companies — said Napier’s decision was “in line with the reduction of his other plc responsibilities.”

Napier will step down after Menzies’ annual general meeting on Friday.

Also on Wednesday, it was revealed that activist shareholder Lakestreet Capital Partners — which has been pressing Menzies to split into two companies — increased its stake in the Edinburgh company to more than 8.5%.

Lakestreet believe Menzies’ aviation services and distribution divisions would be worth more as separate businesses.

Dermot Jenkinson, currently a non-executive director, “will become interim chairman and will run the process to appoint a permanent successor.”

Napier’s retirement is the latest in a number of executive changes at Menzies in a turbulent year which has seen the chief executive and chief financial officer both announce they would leave the firm.

Jenkinson said: “The board would like to thank Iain for his considerable contribution to the John Menzies business and board over the last eight years.

“He has marshalled us through significant periods of change over his tenure with great skill and experience. We wish him the very best for the future.”

Menzies said last month that chief financial officer Paula Bell would leave the firm on July 29 to join the board of Spirent Communications as CFO.

Menzies said Giles Wilson will succeed Bell as CFO from July 1.

In March, Menzies announced that corporate dealmaker Paul Baines would join the company as a non-executive director on June 1.

Menzies’ chief executive Jeremy Stafford resigned in January 2016 for personal reasons after 15 months in the job.

Also in January, Forsyth Black was appointed managing director of Menzies Aviation and joined the board, and Mark Cassie was appointed interim managing director of Menzies Distribution.

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.