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Shareholders try to smoke out top two at Imperial

Lambert & Butler owner Imperial Brands is facing a plot to remove boss Alison Cooper

Stephen Hird/Stephen Hird

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands has been shaken by a plot to oust chief executive Alison Cooper and chairman Mark Williamson.

Shareholders in the Lambert & Butler and Gauloises owner have been left angered at the FTSE 100 titan’s performance with its share price roughly at the same level as five years ago.

A rebellion that saw almost a fifth of investors call for Williamson to resign at Imperial Brands’ annual general meeting last week has suddenly shone a spotlight on the board’s track record.

It has subsequently materialised that the revolt also represents growing disenchantment with Ms Cooper’s nine-year tenure.

“You don’t start to sweep the stairs from the bottom,” a major investor said. “Other…

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