Three-year road map for AWI changes

Countryman - - WOOL - Ann Rawl­ings

AWI has given it­self three years to im­ple­ment the raft of rec­om­men­da­tions handed down by EY as part of its 2015-18 re­view into the wool mar­ket­ing body’s per­for­mance.

The “three-year road map” AWI al­luded to on Mon­day was in re­sponse to calls from Fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter David Lit­tleproud for trans­parency in adopt­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions.

How­ever, in hand­ing down its find­ings in July, EY stated the rec­om­men­da­tions should be im­ple­mented with “vigour and in a con­sul­ta­tive man­ner, in a way that would be ex­pected of a pub­lic or­gan­i­sa­tion of this type”.

Mr McCul­lough said the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s three-year plan pro­vided a “clear roadmap for con­tin­ual improve­ment”.

He said of the 75 rec­om­men­da­tions that re­lated to op­er­a­tional mat­ters, some had al­ready been im­ple­mented and oth­ers were “un­der way”. He said those that had been agreed to in prin­ci­ple were be­ing looked at to “iden­tify a best ap­proach to im­ple­men­ta­tion”.

“The third cat­e­gory in­cludes five rec­om­men­da­tions the board be­lieves would re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant change to the DNA of AWI, and as such are high­lighted for spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion by AWI share­hold­ers,” Mr McCul­lough said.

“AWI will put those rec­om­men­da­tions re­quir­ing share­holder de­lib­er­a­tions to an Ex­tra­or­di­nary Gen­eral Meet­ing to be held in March 2019.”

How­ever, the EY re­port sug­gested the con­sti­tu­tional changes re­quired to sup­port the 2019 di­rec­tor se­lec­tion process be pro­gressed at AWI’s next An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing, set for Novem­ber 23.

The AGM will not in­volve a di­rec­tor elec­tion, as no cur­rent di­rec­tors have stated an in­ten­tion to re­tire. In March, share­hold­ers will de­cide whether there should be a change to the min­i­mum re­quire­ments that those seek­ing elec­tion must meet, in ad­di­tion to whether a 10-year cap on di­rec­tor­ships should be im­ple­mented.

An­other change be­ing put to vote re­lates to the def­i­ni­tion of in­de­pen­dent di­rec­tor, specif­i­cally to re­vise the clause re­lat­ing to vot­ing en­ti­tle­ments to “bet­ter re­flect that a di­rec­tor’s role as a wool­grower can im­pact their in­de­pen­dence”, ac­cord­ing to EY.

The re­port also shed light on the use of open proxy votes in the out­come of di­rec­tor elec­tions, a mat­ter that Mr McCul­lough told ABC Ra­dio on Tues­day that AWI had been ob­tain­ing le­gal ad­vice over.

Un­der its con­sti­tu­tion, a share­holder who is en­ti­tled to at­tend and vote at a meet­ing of the com­pany may ap­point a per­son as a proxy to at­tend and vote for them.

It means if proxy votes were al­lo­cated to long-serv­ing AWI chair­man Wal Mer­ri­man for the EGM vot­ing process, and if past proxy votes were con­sid­ered, he could have a sig­nif­i­cant say on his own fu­ture on the board.

At a Se­nate es­ti­mates hear­ing in Oc­to­ber last year, Mr Mer­ri­man es­ti­mated up to half of the votes in pre­vi­ous board elec­tions had been cast by him through proxy.

The Wool Poll vote closes Fri­day.

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