Ryanair’s chairman under threat as annual shareholders’ meeting looms

There is a considerable amount of discontent among a number of shareholders in Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair ahead of next Thursday’s annual shareholders’ meeting. In particular, there is concern over how the company is being run, with Royal London Asset Management, RLAM, The Local Authority Pension Fund, plus shareholder advisory firms Glass Lewis and ISS recommending a vote against the current chairman, David Bonderman, at the AGM.

“We are also concerned with Ryanair’s corporate governance and poor stakeholder management, which could have an impact on the long-term future of the company,” Ashley Hamilton Claxton, head of responsible investment at RLAM, has commented.

With Ryanair having suffered its worst spate of strikes this past summer and only an agreement reached with Irish pilots, cabin crew in Spain, The Netherlands, Italy and Portugal are still planning a one-day strike on the September 28 and one day every month thereafter until their demands have been met.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has made it clear that the relationship between Ryanair management and pilots has become “utterly dysfunctional”, which is putting the future success of the company at risk. BALPA is urging shareholders to replace both O’Leary and Bonderman.

Ryanair has confirmed it is confident that shareholders will back the airline at the meeting. A spokesperson for the low-cost carrier said: “Ryanair shareholders will pass all AGM resolutions by a large majority this year, including the nomination of directors and chairman, as they have done in all previous years. They appreciate how fortunate we are to have an outstanding chairman like David Bonderman guide the board and the airline.”

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