An activist shareholder at Bidstack Group plc has tabled a resolution to remove chief strategy officer Lisa Hau and non-exec Glen Calvert as directors of the in-game advertising platform.

The company’s share price has dropped from £2.78 just prior to the start of this year to between 80 and 90p in the last few days.

Nicholas Hargrave (pictured), founder and CEO of equity investment business Moulton Harrox – which has been vocal in its criticism of the Bidstack board for months – is behind the move to oust Hau and Calvert.

Shareholders representing 5.25% of the issued share capital of the company have sent a total of nine letters to the board requesting that it convene a general meeting to consider resolutions to remove Calvert and Hau and to appoint Hargrave as a director.

Hau is a former market analyst who joined as COO in 2020 then moved into the chief strategy officer position when Camila Franklin was named COO late last year. Her role spans strategy, corporate development and commercial partnerships.

Non-executive director Calvert, a former COO of eSports team Fnatic, is now CEO and founder of Kaizan, an AI startup that augments the intelligence of teams. He joined Bidstack’s advisory board in 2020.

In a blog post which seemed to back founder and CEO James Draper, the Moulton Harrox founder accused Bidstack’s board of a string of failings.

“This group of shareholders would also have submitted a resolution to remove [non-exec] Donald Stewart had he not already been up for a re-appointment vote at the upcoming AGM on 21st July 2023,” he wrote.

“We encourage shareholders to vote against the re-appointment of Donald Stewart and we are rapidly losing faith in David Reeves as chairman, whose re-appointment is also due at the upcoming AGM.

“Evidence of the board’s failings comes from simply looking at the company’s share price. While we believe that the company has a strong operational management and huge potential for profitable growth, significant shareholder value has been, and continues to be, destroyed by the actions and inactions of the non-executive directors.

“Lack of focus on cash management, most recently highlighted by the new CFO able to reduce monthly cash burn costs by 40% within months of arriving… almost non-existent investor communications with no disclosure of KPIs… appearing to selectively disclose material information only to certain shareholders.

“With a market cap now of just £12m we believe that an eight-strong board is completely unjustifiable and question why a company of this size needs a CSO.”

Top 3 mistakes to avoid when scaling your business

Hargrave claims to have a personal shareholding greater than any investor other than CEO Draper.

The post also pointed to the ongoing legal dispute with commercial partner Azerion. Bidstack signed a minimum two-year $30 million revenue commercial deal with Netherlands-based Azerion in December 2021 and claims Azerion reneged on the deal.

“Based on my own research and conversations I believe that there is a solution to the Azerion legal dispute and a way forward to re-igniting the commercial relationship. I believe that a change of personalities at the board level is crucial for achieving these goals,” he wrote.

Since launching into in-game advertising in 2017 with Sports Interactive’s legendary Football Manager series, Bidstack has run in-game campaigns for brands such as Marriott Bonvoy, Paco Rabanne and Doritos, and works with world-leading game publishers such as Codemasters and Take-Two Interactive.

Its increasing inventory inside games is now being sold to brands, agencies and partners via a combination of a digital open marketplace and private marketplace for exclusive direct deals. 

The company has raised funding to target expansion into the United States.

What happened at tech’s poster child Sorted?