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Kevin Hart and board to resign – retail shareholders vote in force

This morning the Sunday Times reported that Kevin Hart, Billy Allen and the other targeted directors are going to resign immediately before Tuesday’s EGM. Hopefully the new board will still publish the voting figures, as the indications received by this website strongly suggest the result would have been a landslide. Retail shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of Crown Ocean’s resolutions. Having destroyed shareholder value over the last decade, Hart and his cronies stood no chance.

It is estimated that Billy Allen has allowed Kevin Hart to waste over £500,000 in the pointless fight against Crown Ocean’s resolutions. Hart and his advisors squandered the money on paid-for “independent analysts”, friendly “journalists”, ill-judged promotional letters and, of course, lawyers’ fees.

What happens next with Bowleven is going to be interesting to watch. One of the first issues the new board will have to deal with will be Kevin Hart and Kerry Crawford’s executive contracts. Although it seems that both are going to stand down from the board of the company, both will almost certainly continue in their executive roles.

Thanks to the pitiful state of corporate governance at Bowleven, Hart and Crawford are on gilt-edged service agreements, which include outrageous 12-month notice periods. They both no doubt also harbour expectations of receiving payments under the company’s Long Term Incentive Plan, following last week’s joke of a “farm-out” at Bomono. Bowleven’s new board must take as robust a stance against this as possible.

Given the miserable manner in which Bowleven has been run as a cosy lifestyle company over the years and the serious questions over the wild expenditure at Bomono, it seems more than likely that there would be ample grounds to contest any financial claims made by Hart or Crawford. Bowleven spent over $100million at Bomono and was able only to secure a £100,000 payment in shares from Victoria Oil & Gas in return. All other payments described in the ridiculous “farm-out” were performance related.

Then there is the company money Hart and Crawford chose to spend on defending on their positions. It would be amusing to hear how either could possibly justify that this was in the company’s or shareholders’ interests.