Van Elle faces boardroom battle as founder seeks return

Van Elle
Van Elle provides ground engineering for construction 

The founder and former chairman of ground engineer Van Elle has launched an attempt to oust the chief executive and senior independent director.

Michael Ellis is seeking to return to Van Elle’s boardroom after a dispute with chief executive Jon Fenton.

It is understood that Mr Ellis has concerns about the running of the company, and is worried about departures of key staff. Mr Ellis has also raised concerns about Van Elle’s financial forecasts, which do not appear to match internal performance figures seen by The Sunday Telegraph.

In attempt to wrest back control of the business, Mr Ellis has written to the company, requiring a general meeting so his plans for the management shake-up can be voted on. As well as Mr Fenton being removed, Mr Ellis also wants senior independent director Robin Williams to step down. Mr Ellis, who has a 6pc shareholding in Van Elle but is understood to control about 20pc of the company, wants investors to vote on him returning as a director.

He has also proposed that Thomas Lindup, who stepped down in March with immediate effect from his role as group managing director and company secretary, becomes a director.

Mr Ellis and his wife Joan set up Van Elle three decades ago and the firm has since grown to employ more than 500 staff. Mr Ellis stepped down as chairman last year, just weeks after the firm listed on Aim, raising £40m in a float that valued the company at £80m.

Van Elle’s results in July showed revenue up 11.8pc at £94.1m and Ebitda flat at £14.4m. A spokesman for Van Elle said: “We have not received any communication from Mr Ellis and therefore are unable to comment.”