The recently deposed chief of troubled dental company Smiles Inclusive (ASX:SIL) says he asked the now-chair to step down before he resigned.

Former chief Mike Timoney resigned at the end of February and is now engaged in a mission to spill the Smiles board, alongside ex-chairman David Herlihy who was dumped this week.

On the day he left Mr Herlihy combined his holding with Timoney to create an 18 per cent stake, making him the largest shareholder, and promptly moved to eject new chair David Usasz and director Tracey Penn.

Mr Timoney told Stockhead that he asked Mr Usasz to resign before he left.

“Furthermore, other director changes agreed months ago were scheduled to take effect next month but those decisions were reversed this week,” he said.

Smiles opened the war of words yesterday morning saying its performance under Mr Timoney’s and Mr Herlihy’s leadership “was well below expectation”.

Mr Timoney and Mr Herlihy returned fire.

“There is a need to refresh, upweight and round out the board of directors and management of the company with talented and experienced experts relevant to the Smiles Inclusive business model,” Mr Timoney said in a statement.

Mr Usasz and Ms Penn have offered to resign if Mr Herlihy, who remains on the board, does too.

Stockhead asked why they didn’t take this offer up rather than put the company through a disruptive board spill motion, and why they were more qualified to remain on the board since they too oversaw a damaging $3.3m financial downgrade in November.

“It is for SIL shareholders to decide who is best to oversee the business, not other directors,” Mr Timoney said.

“What is the logical connection between Usasz/Penn recognition of the need for renewal, their recognition that they are not the right people going forward and them linking their departure to Mr Herlihy stepping down?”

In response to the second question, he said both men have respect for right corporate governance and Mr Herlihy is also the largest shareholder and “well regarded” by other key investors.

The duo’s new board candidate, paediatric dental specialist and shareholder Dr John Camacho, said in a statement earlier today he joined under Mr Timoney’s reign and had “concerns that his displacement will significantly impact on the direction of the company”.

“Joint venture partners like myself and shareholders are somewhat in the dark about what has transpired. We wish to get to the bottom of the recent management and board changes and the processes followed.”