Axed Stobart boss has appeal rejected after high court defeat

Former Stobart boss Andrew Tinkler has lost an appeal against his High Court defeat over his dismissal from the transport firm.

Stobart Group, the infrastructure firm which owns Southend Airport, won a court case against the former chief executive in February.

The case, which followed Mr Tinkler’s campaign to oust the company’s chairman last year, found that he acted in breach of fiduciary duties in a number of ways, including speaking to investors, criticising management and pushing for the removal of chairman Iain Ferguson.

Judge Russen QC found that Mr Tinkler’s dismissal by Stobart was lawful and its resolution to re-elect Mr Ferguson as chairman at last year’s annual general meeting was valid.

Mr Tinkler has now seen the prolonged court case come to an end, with the Court of Appeal refusing his application to appeal against the judgment. However, there will now be a further hearing in relation to damages.

Appeal Judge Flaux dismissed Mr Tinkler’s appeal, saying that “the proposed appeal has no real prospect of success”.

The judge said that, in light of findings that the former boss had not acted in good faith and acted covertly in a way which was “destabilising” to the firm, the conclusion of the original court case was “not only entirely justified but inevitable”.

The axed former-chief has been ordered to pay 55% of Stobart’s legal costs from the battle, which are understood to be more than £1 million.

As part of the lengthy court case last year, star fund manager Neil Woodford rebutted claims that he worked alongside Mr Tinkler as part of a “conspiracy” to buy a majority stake in Stobart’s aviation business.

Mr Tinkler’s campaign to oust Mr Ferguson drew support from large shareholders and polarised company executives, but failed at last year’s AGM, leading to his dismissal and the subsequent court case over his reinstatement.

Despite the failure of the campaign, Stobart agreed to replace Mr Ferguson as chairman, with David Shearer taking over the role earlier this month.