Portfolio

Hargreaves Lansdown chair steps down amid shareholder backlash

By Benjamin Chiou

Date: Wednesday 29 Nov 2023

Hargreaves Lansdown chair steps down amid shareholder backlash

(Sharecast News) - Hargreaves Lansdown has announced that chair Deanna Oppenheimer is to step down from the board after six years following mounting pressure from shareholders calling for her exit.
Ahead of the financial services firm's annual general meeting (AGM) on 8 December, speculation had risen that shareholders would vote against Oppenheimer's re-election. Some 33.5% of shareholders had already called for her to go at the 2022 AGM.

On Tuesday, proxy voting firm Glass Lewis reportedly sent investors a letter urging them to vote against her at this year's AGM, according to Sky News.

Oppenheimer will be replaced by Alison Platt, the current chair of Dechra Pharmaceuticals and Ageas UK and the former chief executive of Countrywide. She is also a non-executive director of Tesco.

Penny James, currently a senior independent director at Hargreaves Lansdown, will serve as interim chair after the AGM until Platt joins in early 2024.

The succession follow reports in the summer regarding co-founder Peter Hargreaves' public disappointment with Oppenheimer's performance, which led the company to publish a statement saying it had "commenced an exercise to determine the attributes of any successor chair candidates".

The co-founder was quoted by Sky News as saying Oppenheimer's tenure had been a "disaster", with the share price having tanked 60% during the period.

In a statement on Wednesday, Oppenheimer said: "I'm honoured to have overseen the board during a period of significant change for the industry and for HL. HL is in a strong position for growth and has skilled leadership which will ensure the company's future success."

"I would like to thank Deanna for her guidance and stewardship during her tenure as chair. I look forward to working with Alison who brings a wealth of experience to the board," said chief executive Dan Olley.

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