AWI board puts two retiring directors on nomination committee

Sheep Central June 19, 2023


AWI director David Webster

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation has appointed two retiring directors – David Webster and James Morgan – to its board nomination committee, putting them in a position to potentially recommend preferred successors.

The 2023 election BNC recently met for the first time last Thursday and started a process to seek applications from skill-based directors to fill specific areas of expertise identified by the board. Further information about this process will be made available in early July 2023. Click here for more information about the AWI board nomination process.

Three board members will be elected at the AGM on Friday the 17th of November. Mr Morgan and Mr Webster have confirmed their retirement. However, AWI has not yet advised which of its other directors will be retiring to provide the third director’s position to meet the requirement of a third of the board retiring at each election, but it will be either Victorian grower Noel Henderson or New Southern Wales veterinary consultant Michelle Humphries. No-one who is a candidate for re-election as a director may be appointed as a member of the board nomination committee; however, the BNC charter does not preclude the board appointing retiring directors to the BNC.

James Morgan

AWI said its 2023 BNC consists of chair Julie Cox, independent of the wool industry and AWI; independent non-executive directors James Morgan and David Webster; independent wool industry representative and Wool Industry Consultative Panel nominee Michael Field, and; Michael Thomas of international executive search firm Heidrick and Struggles. Mr Thomas was nominated by AWI chief executive officer John Roberts and approved by the independent chair of the Board Nomination Committee.

AWI’s board nomination committee is responsible for:

  • identifying necessary and desirable director competencies;
  • considering candidates standing for election or re-election at any general meeting of the Company; and
  • making non-binding recommendations to shareholders in relation to the election or re-election of candidates. Those recommendations will be provided to shareholders in October.

The opening date for receipt of member nominations is Friday 1st September and nominations close on Monday 18th September.

Three wool growers have already declared their intent to run for a seat on the board: WA Farmers vice president Steve McGuire, Collinsville Merino stud principal George Millington and Western Australian grower Neil Jackson.

Members can find further information about the nomination process on AWI’s website or by contacting the company secretary, Lucy Meadley ([email protected] 02 8295 4121).

WoolProducers Australia general manager Adam Dawes said the peak grower body is pleased to see the BNC process continuing, “which adds the necessary level of transparency and independence to the director nomination process.”

AWI chair Jock Laurie did not answer if he believed it was good governance for the board to appoint retiring directors to positions to influence the selection/anointing of preferred directors. But AWI chief executive officer John Roberts said the process around the BNC follows good governance.

“AWI board members make up two of the five members of the Board Nomination Committee.

“The committee has an independent chair, a member appointed from the WICP and an international recruitment firm,” Mr Roberts said.

“The BNC was a recommendation of the 2018 Review of Performance.

“The current structure has been reviewed and accepted by the Commonwealth.”


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