AWI board nomination committee considering several nominees

Terry Sim, September 21, 2021

Independent chair of the AWI BNC Samantha Hogg is leading the review of 2021 election nominees.

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation’s 2021 director election is set to have a full complement of industry candidates contesting the three vacant positions on the board.

Sheep Central has been told four aspiring board candidates have achieved the required 100 signatures of registered shareholders to accompany their nominations and will be interview by AWI’s board nomination committee this week.

These include New South Wales wool grower and MerinoLink director Michael Field, his running mate Steven Read, the chief executive officer of South Australian-based exporter and processor Michell; NSW grower and former AWI director Chick Olsson, and; former WoolPoll Panel chairman and South Australian grower Sydney Lawrie.

Also running in the election are two AWI directors seeking re-election, chairman and NSW grower Jock Laurie, and NSW grower and broker Don Macdonald. Former chair Colette Garnsey is retired and not seeking re-election.

Sheep Central believes all nominees have submitted their resumes to the AWI board nomination committee, addressing the 11 skills outlined in the matrix in AWI’s board nomination committee charter (section 3.1.1). The BNC is being chaired by experienced company director Samantha Hogg.

The BNC’s role is to identify necessary and desirable director competencies having regard to the skills and experience of the current directors not standing for re-election, the nature of AWI’s business and affairs, its strategic plan and the following skills: corporate governance; the Australian wool growing industry; the wool processing industry in Australia and overseas; product promotion and retail marketing; domestic and international market development and international trade; research and development and commercialisation of R&D outcomes; conservation and management of natural resources; oversight and administration of research and development; finance and business management; executive management of a corporation, and; science.

The AWI BNC will also consider resumes from any individuals that have applied for a non-executive director position it advertised recently, addressing a different range of experiences and expertise to be successful. Sheep Central has been told the skills and experiences listed in the adetisements were aimed at finding candidates with skills matching those of departing former chair Ms Garnsey. They are:

– Consumer marketing experience; brand experience; governance awareness regarding marketing issues.

– Research and development and commercialisation of R&D outcomes.

– International perspective including global experience

– Demonstrated commercial acumen, likely as a senior executive with P&L responsibility.

All board candidates will be interviewed by the BNC and the committee will recommend to shareholders those candidates it believes would be most suitable for re-election or election, having regard to: (a) the combination of directors that will, in its view, best ensure that the board collectively has an appropriate balance of skills and experience in the areas determined in accordance with paragraph 3.1.1 of the charter and the skills identified in the company’s board skills matrix, board diversity and the board’s succession plan and renewal needs.

A candidate who submitted a self-nomination in response to an advertisement placed AWI will only proceed to stand for election by shareholders if the BNC provides a favourable recommendation for their election. A candidate who submitted a successful written nomination signed by at least 100 registered shareholders will proceed to stand for election regardless of the BNC’s recommendation.

The AWI board can then also make its recommendation of preferred candidates to levy payers but must disclose to shareholders its reasons for departing from the BNC’s recommendation in the notice of meeting.

An Australian Wool Innovation spokesperson said the board nomination committee is a separate body that is independent of AWI.

“It is proceeding with its work in evaluating all candidates and will submit its report to the AWI board with its recommendations for those candidates who will, in its opinion, be the most suitable for re-election or election as directors in the 2021 election of directors.

“The AWI board will share the BNC’s report with shareholders of the company, and the board’s practice is to include the BNC’s report in the materials that are sent to shareholders for the AGM,” the spokesperson said.

The AWI annual general meeting mail-out is currently scheduled for the week commencing Monday 11 October.



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  1. Martin Oppenheimer, September 21, 2021

    Vote for Field, Read and Macdonald. Independent directors are urgently needed for AWI to have a future and to work for/with the Australian wool industry.

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