Motor Union Insurance Co.
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The annual general meeting of the Motor Union Insurance Co., Ltd., was held at the Criterion Restaurant yesterday.
Lord Russell presided, in the absence of the Chairman of the company (Mr. C. H. Dodd), objection to this, which was overruled, being taken by the general manager and secretary, Mr. H. J. Whitcomb.
The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report and accounts, said they were all agreed that the progress of the company from the time it was started was satisfactory. The total premium income was 2108,691, and the interest and dividends upon investments brought the total income for last year to 2111,012. The balance available was 27,053, and out of that they recommended a dividend of 10 per cent. upon the paid-up capital of the first 5,200 shares issued, that a further sum of 25,000 be carried to the reserve fund and that the balance be carried forward. The motion was carried and the proposed dividend agreed to.
A discussion followed, on a proposal to elect Mr. Hodgkin as a director in place of Lord Russell. The Chairman said the Board were prepared to accept Mr. Hodgkin as an additional director, but the meeting declined this, and Mr. Kingsmill, a shareholder, pressed for his motion displacing Lord Russell and substituting Mr. Hodgkin. Mr. Whitcomb said in view of what had taken place he did not wish Lord Russell to remain a director of the Board. The company had not been worked by Lord Russell's initiative, but by himself. He (Mr. Whitcomb) was the biggest shareholder and had guided the company to success. Their success was nothing to do with Lord Russell, and he was not prepared to carry on the business as he had done, if Lord Russell remained in his present position. Mr. Jessop said there had been no friction between Lord Russell and his colleague, and the attack on him had come as a "bolt from the blue."
Lord Russell, in reply, said they had heard something recently about " puppet peers " ; Mr. Whitcomb apparently wanted "puppet directors." He had said that a meeting of directors should not be held in his absence, that he must be there to advise and lay down his doctrines, and that they were to take and relinquish their positions as he dictated. Those were terms no self-respecting director could accept, as Mr. Whitcomb would probably find out whether he (Lord Russell) remained on the Board or not.
The motion to elect Mr. Hodgkin in place of Lord Russell was carried on a show of hands, and the Chairman then asked for a poll to be taken in a month's time. Mr. Whitcomb thereupon declared that he resigned his position until such time as the shareholders decided to re-elect him.
[From "The Financial. 'Timex" of the 15th inst.]