Pendragon chair to depart as demands for boardroom shake-up grow louder

Ian Filby

Pendragon chairman Ian Filby is set to exit the business following demands for a behind-the-scenes shake-up at the Nottingham firm.

Ahead of its AGM on Friday (30 June), the car retailer said Filby, a former DFS and Boots man who has occupied the hot seat at Pendragon since November 2021, intends to step down “to pursue other interests.”

Filby – who has also served as chairman of Joules – leaves Pendragon, which owns the Evans Halshaw, Stratstone and CarStore brands, following calls from activist investor Palliser Capital to drive profits by refocusing on its higher margin car servicing business.

Palliser, which owns around 4% of Pendragon, wrote to the board in March after a £400m takeover bid by the company’s largest shareholder Anders Hedin broke down. The investor claimed bosses had become “distracted” by the failed bid and pushed to insert a trio of directors onto the board.

The activist shareholder has recent form, having been behind wholesale boardroom changes at listed oil firm Capricorn Energy.

The news comes less than three months after Pendragon said it was expecting to “comfortably outperform” previous financial expectations based on a strong set of Q1 results.

Pendragon’s underlying profits before tax increased by 23% to £23m in the first three months of 2023, although its performance was impacted by spiralling interest costs, which were up by a whopping 51.7%.

Ian Filby will continue in his role as non-executive chairman until a successor is appointed.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow board members, the leadership team and, most importantly, our associates for their commitment to the company and passion for their work. I am proud of the progress that has been made both strategically and financially by the leadership team and the stability that this has created. I wish them every success in the future.”

Senior independent director Dietmar Exler, who will lead the nomination committee tasked with finding Filby’s replacement, said: “On behalf of the board, we thank Ian for his service to Pendragon and wish him all the best for the future.”