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Rocky V: Bollore's Boardroom 'Farce' Continues

May 23 2008

At its 2008 AGM, shareholders of Synovate parent Aegis Group plc have rejected the appointment of the nominees of Havas Group Chairman Vincent Bollore for the fifth time in two years. It's another win on points, but it may not be the last in the franchise.

After the vote, Aegis Chairman Colin Sharman said the latest vote made it 'crystal clear that the vast
majority of independent shareholders voting recognise the innate conflict of interest represented by the nominees of a competitor's chairman and largest shareholder.' He added: 'This is the fifth time shareholders have shown they do not want Groupe Bollore represented on the Aegis Board. It is our hope that Groupe Bollore will finally listen to the voice of its fellow shareholders and respect shareholder democracy and good corporate governance.' Aegis' continuing strong results, significantly better than those of Havas according to the latest figures, may have helped to reinforce the views of voters.

The nominations required a simple majority but were opposed by 57% of those voting, constituting 91% of non-Groupe Bollore shareholders, according to Aegis. Figures were the same for both nominees, Philippe Germond and Roger Hatchuel.

Bollore himself did not this time make an appearance at the meeting. However, 'orindary shareholder' Clive Sasserath took the opportunity to ask the Aegis Board if there were 'any means at our disposal to stop the total farce of the French shareholders constantly trying to appoint two directors to the board?', adding that 'The time, effort and cost to the executive team and the annoyance to the shareholders is a total waste.' Sharman replied: 'The short answer is no. English company law requires that we put his resolutions to shareholders.'

Aegis is online at www.aegisplc.com .

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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