Press Room

The thoughts of chairman Ron

November 14, 2015

Out-going Fairfax Media chairman Ron Walker has had a lot to say in recent times about his position at the company and the Fairfax family. Here is a a chronological run-down.

WA Today
War erupts for control of Fairfax empire
September 17, 2009

"Let there be no misunderstanding" Mr Walker said. "This is a ploy by the Fairfax family to get control of the company without paying a premium to other shareholders. And the independent directors will act responsibly in the interests of all shareholders to prevent this.''

''John B. Fairfax bought his brother and sister's stock back from them, then he had a margin call from Commsec for $400 million-plus. He secured a loan by pledging the Fairfax stock without disclosing this to the board." The share price was then savaged ''to the tune of $2''
Battle lines drawn in fight for Fairfax
September 17, 2009

"John B Fairfax's comments about corporate governance are hypocrisy at its worst, when you consider that he deceived the board in not disclosing he had a margin loan on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shares that caused our share price to to drop at the hands of hedge funds and short sellers'' he said.
Walker opens door for exit at Fairfax AGM
September 22, 2009

"It had to be personal for the caustic remarks that were made against my stewardship as chairman" Mr Walker said.
Ron Walker says he will resign from Fairfax Media board if shareholders tell him to go
September 23, 2009

"I don't have an ownership on this job and I leave it to the judgement of others"
he said.
Walker likely to step down in Nov, if shareholders want
September 23, 2009

"It is true to say that a number of shareholders have called in recent days saying `if you are prepared to do the three years we would love you to stay'," Mr Walker said. "But I really don't want to commit another three years of my life because it takes up 50 per cent of your time running a media company like this."We all serve the shareholders and I will take note of what they say."
Fairfax Chairman to Meet Investors After Call to Quit
September 23, 2009

"My board has always known I was going to step down after the board renewal program is in place," Walker said today. "Whether I could stay on until March, April next year was the only issue. I was never going to continue past that point."

The Australian
Walker has no regrets over stint at media helm
September 24, 2009

"I've spoken to both those companies in the last few days and they've made it clear to me they think it's folly to stay around for a few months after the AGM" he says. "I agree with them, I'm an investor too."

"I sold The Age at (inner-Melbourne) Richmond station in my young days, and I've been associated with The Age for all these years. If we'd done nothing, and I'd been the kind of chairman who simply chairs meetings, goes into the office once a month and signs the board minutes, then this company wouldn't be alive today."

"I've heard that said before (about Fairfax needing a chairman with publishing industry experience)," Walker says.
"But is the new chairman of BHP a miner, or an oil and gas expert? No, he's a very clever business person.
"Was Don Argus a miner? No, he was a banker."

"The Fairfaxes didn't have to buy their brother and two sisters out (with the proceeds from the margin loan). They could have sat quietly with their current stock and played a meaningful role in the progression of the company, but they decided to buy those shares and fund it through CommSec on a margin loan.
"But it's been a pretty grim history about the Fairfaxes controlling the public company, and we're determined it will never happen again."

Herald Sun
Spat toxic, says Fairfax chairman Ron Walker
September 24, 2009

"It's terribly regrettable, terribly regrettable and it could have been prevented," he told BusinessDaily.
"(It could have been prevented) by proper dialogue behind closed doors but the Fairfaxes chose to make it public which became very toxic."