The eight-page letter is the latest in Lew’s year-long campaign to oust the Myer board, during which time the retailer’s share price has fallen 33 per cent and dividends per share have dropped to zero.
The letter lays out a long list of complaints, starting with Myer executive chairman Garry Hounsell’s lack of retail experience and ending with the board’s recent announcement that it will stop providing quarterly updates to the ASX.
“Premier believes that Myer’s shares may be trading on an uninformed basis. These numbers are critical for shareholders in assessing how to vote at the AGM,” Lew wrote in the letter.
Lew, who is chairman of Premier Investments, which owns the Peter Alexander, Smiggle and The Just Group, said that urgent action was needed to “save Myer from the dustbins of history”.
He urged shareholders to deliver a second strike against the Myer board by voting against the remuneration report and to appoint Premier as their proxy to vote on another resolution.
“Together let’s send a clear message to the Myer board that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH,” the letter states. [Emphasis original.]
While the Australian Retailers Association has predicted a nearly 3 per cent increase in sales this Christmas over last year, Lew said that Myer is destined for “another failed Christmas/January period”.
If that proves true, he said that Hounsell should be held responsible.
“Garry Hounsell sacked Richard Umbers as CEO in February 2018 with immediate effect, and appointed himself, an accountant and self-confessed non-retailer, as executive chairman at a rate of a million dollars per year,” Lew wrote in the letter.
“John King only commenced his role as new CEO in June 2018, well after many of the key 2018 Christmas period decisions would have been made…
“The only person who can be held responsible for Myer’s performance over this upcoming Christmas/January period is Garry Hounsell,” he said.
IR contacted Myer for comment, but had not received a reply by the time of this writing.