Premier Investments chairman, Solomon Lew is calling on the entire Myer board to resign immediately, offering to work with other shareholders to reconstitute the board with directors who have expertise across retail, property, logistics and ecommerce to reverse the department store’s decline.

The request comes as Premier acquires an additional 41.1 million shares in Myer, giving it an overall stake of 15.77%.

Lew said the company remains “bitterly disappointed” by Myer’s performance which continues to be “disastrous” for shareholders, employees, suppliers and customers.

“It has now been more than eight months since then Myer chairman, Garry Hounsell abruptly resigned on the morning of Myer’s 2020 AGM sighting lack of key shareholder support for his re-election,” he said.

“On that day, Myer announced that JoAnne Stephenson had been appointed acting chairman of Myer while a global search would be undertaken to find a replacement.

“We are stunned that Premier has not heard from the acting chairman at any stage. Neither the acting chairman nor any of the remaining directors have bothered to pick up the phone to the company’s major shareholder about reconstituting Myer’s emaciated board which is bereft of the retail experience, skills and talent required to turn the business around.

“In a market where innovative, experienced retailers are benefitting from rapid change, Myer continues to go backwards, and its board is missing in action. Something has to change, and Premier has put itself in a position to make change happen.”

Myer responds to Lew’s demands

In recognition of Premier’s increased shareholding, the Myer board reached out to Premier to discuss its investment.

Myer acting chairman, JoAnne Stephenson (pictured below) said the department store is open to dialogue with a primary objective of delivering value for all shareholders.

“Acknowledging that Premier Investments has increased its holding in the company to greater than 15% and the significance of this change, I have reached out to Mr Lew and look forward to constructive dialogue. We will also be reaching out to other major shareholders,” Stephenson said in a statement shared with the ASX.

“The board is open to discussing appropriate representation of Premier through nomination to the Myer board. We would need to be satisfied around any issues or potential conflict that Premier’s representation on Myer’s board could create and whether they could be addressed through governance protocols or other means.

“We have a well-articulated strategy in the Customer First Plan and its delivering positive results, as seen at our 1H results despite ongoing challenges that lockdowns and CBD traffic limitations present. Our balance sheet has been strengthened through tighter inventory management and cash generation, we have improved our range of products, reduced space, significantly grown our online business, all while maintaining discipline over costs and capital expenditure.

“We have the right team and are well positioned to build on this to create value for all shareholders.”