Give David Potts “breathing space” to turn Morrisons around says Sir Ken

X The Business Desk

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FORMER chairman of supermarket giant Morrisons has given David Potts his backing at a meeting of shareholders in Bradford yesterday.

Sir Ken said he was reassured by the new management’s intentions to “restore the company to its glory days” and urged for patience amongst shareholders.

He said: “It is a big job to restore the company’s fortunes. Please be patient and allow the new management some breathing space.”

Morrisons recently avoided being relegated out of the FTSE 100, as its sales increased for the first time in 18 months.

The picture wasn’t fully one of optimism however. Mr Potts and chief executive Andrew Higginson faced a shareholder revolt over the payout to Mr Potts’ predecessor Dalton Philips.

The £3m ‘golden goodbye’ faced heavy criticism. According to The Independent, one shareholder said: “Most shareholders here have seen the value of their shares over the past few years fall by up to 50 per cent, or £1.50 per share.

“That decline was due to inept leadership and total mismanagement by the chairman and CEO, both now departed… I’m therefore totally mystified why we are paying the sacked CEO a bonus of over £1m and other payments.”

City AM reported that there was more on that theme, with one shareholder saying: “The board clearly didn’t know its backside from its elbow for the last three years.”

And: “Are you all just failed Tesco execs?”

It makes a change from last year’s AGM in which Sir Ken publicly condemned Dalton Philips turnaround plan as “bullshit”.