But the company announced that votes were still being counted and a verdict would not be delivered on Friday.

Tensions have built over the past few months at the £810million mini-conglomerate, a biomass supplier and provider of engineering and management services to customers such as Network Rail.

It is the former holding company of Eddie Stobart Logistics and has a stake in that separately listed firm.

Tinkler was sacked from the board last month after he launched a bid to oust chairman Iain Ferguson and replace him with Philip Day, the billionaire owner of retail group Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

He claimed employees had lost confidence in the board and wanted change.

Tinkler, who owns nearly 8 per cent of the company, had support from 5.5 per cent shareholder and former Stobart director, Allan Jenkinson, and star fund manager Neil Woodford, who holds 20 per cent.

There was a further twist before the meeting as Stobart announced that chief financial officer Richard Laycock had decided to stand down.

A search for his successor has begun.

Chief executive Warwick Brady told investors Stobart had made “significant progress” across its divisions and would continue to focus on its ambition to double the value of the business by 2022.

Ferguson said: “It is an honour to chair Stobart, one of the iconic British brands. It is a role that I take enormous pride and responsibility in.

“You never want disputes to impact on the business. However, it is important that debate happens in a transparent way. There are hugely important principles at stake. This is not just about Stobart, but about how companies are run for all stakeholders; for shareholders, staff and society.

“I firmly believe boards have a duty to deliver a positive impact in what they do and consider the interests of the many, not just the few. Directors must be truly independent and use their power and resources to benefit all stakeholders.”

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