Hereford & Worcester

Kidderminster's Victoria Carpets chairwoman ousted

One of the UK's oldest independent carpet makers has seen its chairwoman ousted after a boardroom coup.

Katherine Innes Ker lost the leadership of Victoria Carpets in Kidderminster, maker of the red carpet at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Plans to remove her as chairwoman were backed by 69% of shareholder votes.

Alexander Anton, a member of the founding family, will rejoin the board of the Kidderminster-based firm as a non-executive director.

Geoff Wilding will become executive chairman and Andrew Harrison will join the company as non-executive director.

Mr Anton, who is a former chairman, and Mr Wilding were among three directors who quit in August amid a row over performance and pay proposals.

'Fully accountable'

Ms Innes Ker has claimed the boardroom bust-up centred on a bonus package proposed by Mr Anton and fellow directors that she said in August would see them "potentially receive a substantial share of returns made to shareholders".

Despite Wednesday's vote, Ms Innes Ker said she had succeeded in ensuring the new board members would be "fully accountable for their actions and stewardship of the business to all shareholders".

Victoria Carpets employs about 700 people in the UK and Australia.

It was founded in 1895 in Victoria Street, Kirkcaldy, before moving to Kidderminster in 1905.

Victoria said higher UK sales had been offset by sharp falls in Australia.

Its incoming directors believe the company's strategy needs overhauling to improve performance and are proposing to grow the business in the UK and Australia, improve productivity and jettison under-performing assets.

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