Bidstack Group plc has pledged to reduce the size of its leadership team as an activist shareholder bids to remove two key figures – but urged shareholders to vote against the motions.

Nicholas Hargrave, founder and CEO of equity investment business Moulton Harrox – which has been vocal in its criticism of the Bidstack board for months – has tabled a resolution to remove chief strategy officer Lisa Hau and non-exec Glen Calvert as directors of the in-game advertising platform, while also backing the removal of non-exec Donald Stewart.

The company’s share price has dropped from £2.78 just prior to the start of this year to 80 pence at the time of writing (8am).

While seeming to back founder and CEO James Draper, Hargrave accused Bidstack’s board of a string of failings, adding: “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.”

A resolution has also been tabled to add Hargrave to the company’s board of directors.

Bidstack has now called an AGM at a WeWork office in London on 27th July 2023, where the resolutions will be voted upon.

“The board has been in communication with the company’s major shareholders and has agreed that it will actively review the composition of both the executive and non-executive members of the board with the goal of reducing both, plus overall board size,” Bidstack stated.

“It will conduct a review of the advisors to the business.”

It said the directors have recommended that shareholders vote against all the proposed resolutions. 

The directors’ shareholding amounts to 3.47%, with a further 15.79% of commitments to vote with them, and an additional 9.23% to vote against the appointment of Hargrave.

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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.

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.

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