Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells is under fire at Dunelm

Ex-Post Office boss is under fire at Dunelm: Shareholders urged to vote Paula Vennells off the board

Dunelm shareholders have been urged to vote former Post Office boss Paula Vennells off the board.

Advisory firm Pirc said investors in the homeware retailer should oppose her re-election as a non-executive director at the AGM due to her role in the Horizon IT scandal.

Between 1999 and 2015, hundreds of Post Office staff were sacked, bankrupted or wrongly convicted after cash appeared to vanish from their tills.

Advisory firm Pirc said investors Dunelm should oppose Paula Vennells’s re-election as a non-executive director at the AGM due to her role in the Horizon IT scandal

Vennells, 61, who ran the Post Office between 2012 and 2019, is accused of covering the scandal up and dragging hundreds of postmasters into a costly court battle.

She earns a total of £196,000 a year for roles at Dunelm, Morrisons and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

Pirc said the computer-system scandal has raised ‘serious concerns’ about her ‘suitability’ to act as a director of a major company. 

Vennells, pictured, has come under attack on several fronts in recent months. She was forced to resign as an adviser to the Cabinet Office, and step back from a Church of England ethical investment committee following complaints.

Imperial NHS Trust is preparing to launch an independent investigation to determine if she is a ‘fit and proper’ person to hold the position of chair, which entitles her to a £55,000 salary. Last month the Government began an independent review of the scandal.

Last week 44 postmasters were told their convictions will be lifted at the Court of Appeal after a 20-year fight for justice.

Vennells could not be reached for comment. In a letter to the MPs’ Business Committee in June, she claimed she had no role in decisions governing the investigation or prosecution of postmasters.

In a statement, she added: ‘I remain deeply sorry for the hurt caused to sub-postmasters, their families and colleagues who have suffered over so many years. 

The regret is constantly with me. I have fully engaged with the BEIS Select Committee inquiry and I continue to cooperate and support fully the Government inquiry, as well as the regulatory processes and procedures undertaken by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.’

Dunelm declined to comment. Its AGM is on November 17.

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