Shane Marden: Thank you chairman. My name is Shane
Marden and I work for Stephen Mayne and am here today as his proxy to
ask one very simple and polite question.
Does the AFIC board still believe it is appropriate to have Stan Wallis on the board of Australia's biggest listed investment company, when Mr Wallis was the chairman of AMP during a period when it lost more than $5 billion in the UK.
Mr Teele, AFIC's chairman, said the following about Mr Wallis at last year's AGM: "In my opinion, Stan probably did more to rescue and turn AMP around than anybody ever knows."
The facts of the matter are that Mr Wallis joined the AMP board in 1990 and was chairman from 2000 until 2003. A few months after he resigned and voluntarily declined to take his $1.6 million retirement benefit such was the embarrassment, AMP reported a record $5.54 billion loss for calendar 2003.
At the 2000 AMP AGM, when AMP shares were trading just above $11, Mr Wallis confidently predicted they were really worth closer to $30.
By late 2003 they fell below $3 when AMP almost went broke.
By what objective measure did Mr Wallis “rescue and turn around” AMP. If the former AMP CEOs George Trumbull and Paul Batchelor are not on any Australian boards, why should the chairman of AMP during Australia's biggest capital destruction continue to sit on the prestigious AFIC board. Surely AFIC should be setting a good example on director accountability?
Mr Wallis turns 70 next year and is one of Australia's longest serving directors having first joined AFIC in 1987. Mr Mayne politely counsels that it is time he gracefully retires after 21 years. If not, Mr Mayne is formally serving notice today that he will propose the removal of Mr Wallis as a director at a shareholder meeting in 2009.
We would appreciate your comments as to whether we can expect a speedy retirement from Mr Wallis after he was re-elected with 96% of the vote in favour at last year's AFIC AGM, which he failed to attend. Thank you.
Listen to audio exchange and read below the actual transcript. Read article in The Age.
Shane Marden: Thank you chairman. My name is Shane Marden and I work for Stephen Mayne and am here today as his proxy to ask one very simple and polite question.
Does the AFIC board still believe it is appropriate to have Stan Wallis on the board of Australia's biggest listed investment company, when Mr Wallis…”
Chairman Mr Bruce Teele: “Can I just stop you”.
Shane Marden: “Yeah ok”
Bruce Teele: “ Umm, we debated this last year at our annual meeting."
Shane Marden: “Yep”
Bruce Teele: “..Stephen was here, and I said I completely disagree with that point of view. The fact is, number one the shareholders voted overwhelmingly against that proposition. And number two, as chairman, my job is to make sure that the board, to look at its function, and I can tell you Stan functions very well. But its not part of this agenda and I'm not going to speak anymore about it.”
Shane Marden: “ I was instructed by Mr Mayne to say that, to call Mr Wallis' resignation and if not, Mr Mayne is formally serving notice today that he'll propose the removal of Mr Wallis at a shareholder meeting in 2009.”
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