14 July 2000

Publicly-listed marketing services and PR group Huntsworth (formerly Holmes & Marchant) is the object of unwelcome, if patrician, attentions of Lord Chadlington, chairman of leading PR shop Shandwick International before its acquisition last year by McCann UK Group.

Lord C, alias Peter Gummer (brother of former Tory agriculture minister, John ), has teamed with quondam Halifax chairman Jon Foulds to build a £1 million stake in Huntsworth, giving the duo nearly 30% of the company. They are now demanding the resignation of its entire board and – with the aid of another shareholder, former Warburgs director Anthony Brooke - have called an extraordinary meeting to be held before the end of August.

Their objective to instal new management and revitalise Marlow-based Huntsworth, which has not paid a dividend since 1991. Its share price has dwindled from over 200p in the late 1980s to about 20p currently.

During Chadlington’s short-lived and stormy tenure as honorary chairman of London's Royal Opera House, he commented that it appeared little more than "a group of friends running it for their own self-indulgence". He presumably believes the same of Hunstworth.

News source: The Times (London)