Morrisons falls short of governance code

Link: Morrisons to get its first non-execs

David Jones, chairman of clothing retailer Next, and Duncan Davidson, chairman and founder of housebuilder Persimmon, officially take up their appointments as independent directors on 21 May, following today’s agm.

Morrisons has promised to appoint non-executive directors since it made its original offer for rival chain Safeway, a deal that has been completed after a long period of uncertainty.

Despite the high-calibre appointments as a concession to governance issues, the company still fails to meet the combined code provisions. In particular, the company’s audit committee should have at least three members, all of whom should be independent, non-executive directors.

A spokesman for Morrisons confirmed that there were no current plans to hire any more non-executive directors, but added: ‘The company has always run itself very well and analysts don’t have any concerns about the company.’

Iain Richards, head of governance at Morley Fund Management, supported the company, saying that: ‘Given the integrity of management, the company’s track record and the competence of the board, we are delighted with the appointments. This is not a company we have concerns about.’

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