"Come and face the crowds. I’m not threatening you … but we’re going to war with you," Hassen Adams, founder and executive chair of Grand Parade Investments (GPI), told disgruntled shareholders ahead of an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to be held in Athlone. That response was probably a little more robust than the shareholders had anticipated. All they were asking for was the appointment of two independent directors to the board. Adams’s attitude to the proposed appointment of the two experienced and well-regarded individuals — former Spur CFO Ronel van Dijk and former SABMiller executive Mark Bowman — suggested he believed they represented the first line in a dastardly plan to unseat him. The activist shareholders, which included Kagiso Asset Management and Denker Capital and hold 12% of GPI, claimed a much more modest ambition: they hoped the two directors would help the group recover from its long-term underperformance. The share price has been in decline for year...

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