Shareholders at quantity surveyor MDA have voted by a large majority to retain chief executive Elaine Headlam, after an attempt to oust her late last year.
Thirteen million shareholders voted for her retention compared with 5 million voting against.

Among her supporters at a reconvened annual meeting last Friday was shareholder STG, which originally called for a ballot last month.

Branding expert Headlam, who joined MDA last October, is due to meet new chairman Charles Johnston to discuss the firm’s strategy. Johnston said he had already met other MDA directors and managers to discuss his plans for the business, which has a turnover of £12.5m. He confirmed that David Somerset, who joined the MDA board last week, had become managing director.

Somerset has resigned as managing director of Haley Somerset, the practice he set up in 1989 with Steve Haley, but will remain a shareholder.

Johnston said: “Obviously David has put his immediate future with MDA, which is great for MDA. He is very well respected in the industry.”

Johnston said he wanted to combine Headlam’s strategy for the QS, which she planned to reveal in March, with his and Somerset’s. Johnston said: “What David and I bring is a deep understanding of the industry over the past 30 years. We want to match the ideal strategy to what we know are the realities of the industry.”

Headlam filled the post left by former chief executive Richard Houghton, who left in 2000.