City calls on The Hut Group founder Matt Moulding to restore trust by finding a new chairman
Crisis-hit THG, formerly known as The Hut Group, needs an ‘independent and credible voice’ in the boardroom to restore investor trust, according to one analyst.
Shore Capital’s Clive Black told the Mail that the wider market didn’t have ‘a huge amount of respect’ for the technology and ecommerce company’s governance, or the board itself.
‘If [THG] is listening to the market’s concerns, there should absolutely be some consideration over who should be on the board.’
Safe hands? Severn Trent boss Liv Garfield (pictured) is among the possible candidates for Hut Group chairman
He added: ‘If [chief executive and founder Matt] Moulding was being constructive, he should be taking that on board as well for his own good.’
With the company facing growing calls to bring in a new face to restore the trust of investors, speculation has swirled about whether a City stalwart could swoop in and take on the role of chair.
Suggestions for potential candidates include former Tesco boss Dave Lewis, who is serving as the Government’s supply chain tsar, former Prudential chairman Paul Manduca and Severn Trent boss Liv Garfield.
Others are Justin King, the former chief executive of Sainsbury’s, and Sebastian James, the boss of Boots who previously headed electrical retailer Currys.
The comments will provide food for thought for Moulding, 49, who was left heavily bruised after a disastrous capital markets day on Tuesday.
The firm’s founder had planned to use the meeting as a chance to assuage investor concerns and draw a line under several heavy knocks to the share price in recent weeks as well as an attack from short-selling investment firm, The Analyst.
However, the event had the opposite effect and the stock plunged around 35 per cent on the day, wiping around £1.8billion of the company’s value.
Aside from his role as chief executive, Moulding is also executive chairman and largest shareholder, raising concerns among some investors and analysts that the billionaire has too much control over its operations.
He is also the firm’s landlord, renting out parts of his real estate portfolio to THG. The company made a splash when it floated on the London market last September, which at the time was the biggest listing since Royal Mail in 2013 and gave it a market cap of over £5billion.
However, the shares are now at 305.8p, well below their 500p IPO price, and THG’s market value has tumbled to around £3.4billion.