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Stelios’s wrangle with directors continues

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Stelios is engaged in an ongoing battle with EasyJet chairman, Sir Colin Chandler, over the strategic direction of the company.

Due to the economic downturn, growth is being curtailed at the airline, but Stelios wants to go further. He wants to halt the purchase of new aircraft and put the brakes on growth completely.

He has also requested that a dividend be paid out for the first time since the company’s incorporation. Additionally, the Greek tycoon wishes to appoint two new board directors.

Now it appears that Stelios is now refusing to acknowledge the airline’s annual accounts.

He has issued a formal statement to the press. Here is an excerpt: "After extensive discussions with the easyJet board and having taken appropriate professional advice at my own expense, I regret to inform you that I, as a director of easyJet PLC, am unable to approve the annual accounts for the following reasons. I am concerned about the application of certain of the accounting policies adopted by the board in a way that I believe is at odds with current commercial realities and the macro-economic climate. Their implications only became obvious to me this year because of the acquisition of GB Airways."

Stelios has stated that his principle issues with the board concern their "optimistic assumptions about future revenues" and their treatment of the brand as a single entity, rather than as a series of businesses.

It’s possible that he’s right about the overly rosy outlook. EasyJet has reported a 45 per cent fall in profits this year, after all. But, following Stelios’ statement, the airline’s share price has now dropped 14 per cent. It’s unclear what the entrepreneur is trying to achieve. And the fact that this dispute is being held in the public domain smacks of a publicity stunt. Stelios has declined to comment further on the issue.

More news on this boardroom brawl to follow.

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