Some of David Jones' biggest shareholders are preparing to use next week's annual meeting of the upmarket retailer to agitate the board to reinstate outgoing chief executive, Paul Zahra, in the top job.
The looming protest vote is set to become a critical test in investor confidence for David Jones chairman Peter Mason. Several institutional investors are understood to be planning to vote against the remuneration report as well as the election of director Leigh Clapham at next Friday's annual meeting.
They will be able to ask the board why the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is trawling through the emails of Mr Mason and directors Steve Vamos and Mr Clapham - regarding the directors buying shares in the lead up to the release of the company's quarterly sales - an announcement tagged by the company to the stock exchange as price sensitive.
Mr Vamos, Mr Clapham and Mr Mason argue the quarterly sales data is not price sensitive - but various investors do not agree.
The 6.6 per cent gain in David Jones' share price in response to the release of the sales number supports the shareholders' view.