Mayne takes on Mayne in 2002

By Kate Jackson
January 14, 2008

This is getting easy. Crikey turns up at an AGM for an hour, lobs a few questions and then leaves the work experience student to write it up, attend the press conference and bring some sandwiches back to the office. This is Kate Jackson's take on the 2002 Mayne AGM for Crikey.

The Melbourne Concert Hall was the scene of yet another AGM this morning as Mayne's outgoing Chairman Mark Rayner attempted to account for the company's erratic performance over the last year.

Crikey was present at question time to ask the Chairman about the diversity of Mayne's Colonial clique of board members, the sale of Mayne Logistics to Toll (a very successful logistics company founded by ex-Mayne Nickless managers Paul Little and Peter Rowsthorn), and whether Mayne would be continuing to provide large lump sum retirement payments to outgoing non-executive directors.

"Ah, Mr Mayne," said the Chairman, "it wouldn't be a Mayne meeting without Stephen Mayne."

Mr Rayner said he had a very well balanced management team with both Colonial and Mayne people. In reference to Toll, he said "it all happened before any of us were on the board," and that they were not responsible for decisions made in the 1980s.

Mr Rayner also passed on the responsibility for answering Crikey's question on the retirement allowance saying incoming chairman Peter Willcox might tackle this one next year.

In other business several board members were retiring by rotation and offered themselves re-election. Peter Mason's is the longest serving director with 10 years of under his belt but his election passed without comment. However, Professor Judith Sloane was not so lucky. Her nomination was challenged by two shareholders, but passed comfortably with only about 10 per cent of the room voting against it. Mason was less popular on the proxies with 5.9 million against compared with Sloan's 4.12 million.

The question of the CEO Stuart James' remuneration package was also queried by a shareholder unhappy with the performance hurdles given the company is embarking on a $300 million share buy which could be topped up again next year after the $456 million is banked from the logistics/security sale. It was passed with 244 million proxies in favour and a hefty 46.7 million against.

James is still coming out of the shadow of Pacman Peter Smedley who was mentioned plenty of times given the stuff-up in the hospitals business and the aborted move to make him Mayne chairman.

The other interesting element was the acknowledgment that the loud rebranding of Mayne with the big red dot had annoyed a lot of players in the medical game. Rayner pointed out that recent acquisitions had not been rebranded and Stuart James confessed after the meeting that the Carlton jumper could next year carry an alternative brand such as Cernovis.

Whilst Smedley admitted he barracked for Carlton, James would not fess up where his allegiances lie other than that they weren't with Carlton.