Ian Filby is to step down as Pendragon chair after less than two years in the role. The search for a successor is now underway.

Ian, a veteran Boots executive and former chief of DFS, will remain in his non-executive chairman role until a replacement is found. The directorate change was announced ahead of Pendragon’s AGM, which took place last week (Friday 30 June).

Mr Filby commented: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Board members, the leadership team and, most importantly, our associates for their commitment to the company and passion for their work,” said Ian, who also served on Pendragon’s renumeration committee.

“I am proud of the progress that has been made both strategically and financially by the leadership team and the stability that this has created. I wish them every success in the future.”

Activist pressure

Sky News reported that the decision followed growing pressure from Pendragon activist investor Palliser, which has built a 4% stake in the company. The fund has demanded a boardroom shakeup and, in March, wrote to Pendragon’s board seeking representation. This was not granted.

Hedin Group owns more than 20% of Pendragon and last year made a second 29p a share bid for the retailer. A secret 28p a share offer was initially made (and rejected) in March. Its £400m takeover bid was withdrawn in December 2022 due to “challenging market conditions and uncertain economic outlook”.

Pendragon is now valued at less than £250m. Rival Lookers has been valued at £465m in a takeover bid by Canada’s Alpha Auto Group.

Earlier this month, news emerged that Odey Asset Management had sold the majority of its stake in Pendragon. Last week, Hedin announced it was investigating the potential of raising around £110m in a bond issue for acquisitions and investments.