Losing his sparkle? Bob Diamond survives shareholder revolt at Atlas Mara AGM

A small but significant proportion of shareholders voted against the former Barclays boss' reappointment.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 04 Mar 2016

Bob Diamond had gone a long way down the road to rehabilitating his reputation with his Africa-focused bank Atlas Mara, after unceremoniously resigning as boss of Barclays in 2012 following the Libor interest rate manipulation scandal. But he’s not quite there yet.

A small proportion of Atlas Mara’s voting shareholders – just 8.81% (or 5.6% of issued share capital) - voted against Diamond’s reappointment as a non-executive director (NED). But none of the other directors, including Diamond’s co-founder Ashish Thakkar, had more than 0.91% vote down theirs.

A spokesman for the company, which floated in London in December 2013, told MT they didn’t know which investors disapproved or why. But according to the FT they had voted anonymously through proxy agent Glass Lewis, which had recommended shareholders vote down Diamond’s reappointment as he was not an independent member of the audit committee (even though he is technically as an NED).

An anonymous source reportedly told the FT the majority of investors voting via Glass Lewis had voted for Diamond, but some smaller ones had delegated their decision to the proxy firm.

Atlas Mara owns the Rwandan BRD Commercial Bank, Botswana-based BancABC and a 30% stake in the Union Bank of Nigeria. Last month it said it was in talks to buy a 45%, $22.5m stake in Banque Populaire du Rwanda, which it wants to merge with BRD.

Its shares are currently trading at $7.09, just 58% of its peak shortly after its IPO, but above a decidedly non-sparkly $6.10 low last month. Diamond does have the support of the vast majority of Atlas Mara’s investors, but he still has a way to go before he gets all his glitter back.

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