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Carillion audit chief faces ISS pressure at Victrex

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The former chair of Carillion’s audit committee faces a battle to keep his role at another listed company after an influential advisor withdrew its backing for his re-election.

Sky News has learnt that Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has recommended that investors in Victrex, a polymer manufacturer, abstain on the vote to reappoint Andrew Dougal at its annual meeting next week.

Mr Dougal, who also chairs Victrex’s audit committee, held that crucial role in Carillion’s boardroom for six years before it collapsed.
ISS has told clients to abstain on his re-election on the basis that “investigations into Carillion and his actions there, have not yet been concluded”.
However, in a note seen by Sky News, the agency added: “A vote against this resolution is warranted for those shareholders in markets which have a fiduciary responsibility to vote either for or against and who do not recognise abstentions as a valid option.”
The recommendation of such an influential voting adviser increases the likelihood of a big revolt against Mr Dougal – which could in turn lead to Victrex being included on a new public register which lists every major company to see at least 20% of investors opposing an AGM resolution.
ISS said its engagement with Victrex had prompted the company to inform it that it continued to support Mr Dougal’s role there.
“The board of Victrex remains supportive of Andrew Dougal reflecting his support and passion for and contribution made to the company,” according to a Victrex statement relayed in ISS’s note.

“Clearly, the board also takes seriously its responsibilities and will continue to listen and reflect on matters to the extent they are relevant.”
It emerged this month that a number of institutional investors plan to write to Victrex to demand Mr Dougal?’s resignation unless he steps down voluntarily.
The news of ISS’s recommendation came on the same day that the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) confirmed that it would fast-track a probe into Carillion’s auditing by KPMG in the period between 2014 and 2017.

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A number of other regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority and the Insolvency Service, are also undertaking investigations into directors’ conduct at Carillion.
On Tuesday, two committees of MPs will hold their first evidence sessions in relation to Carillion’s collapse, which has cast a shadow over tens of thousands of jobs and the retirement pots of more than 28,000 pension scheme members.

Source: Sky News