2009 Seek AGM transcript

August 11, 2010

You can hear all the questions here and below is a transcript of our question on gender diversity on the board, from the 2009 Seek AGM held in Melbourne on November 30.

Stephen Mayne: I would like to speak in favour of Colin's re-election. It's fair to say that there are no known blots in Colin's copybook from his public company career, and obviously the performance here has been magnificent for shareholders, so what's to complain about?

The only issue that I would like to raise is the issue of the percentages on the board, board composition and board diversity. When we had the two reps from CMJ, 50% of the board seats were with either the management or the controlling shareholder, which you might describes as, colloquially as 'The Insiders'.

It's now down to a majority of independent directors, but I think only by one. There's two Basset's and there is four other directors - Bob you've had a reasonable history with the company. I would be more comfortable to see another one or two, independent directors appointed to this board.

I think it is appropriate that if the founders own 8% of the company, they don't have 33% of the board seats, and if you have had an 8 person board before, it's perfectly reasonable to go back to having an 8 person board now. I would also like to see the transition from having an 8 man board, or a 6 man board, to actually having a board that better represents diversity in the community.

It is a disgrace that women only represent 8% of public company directors of major companies in Australia. One the of David Jones directors, the only female, basically said as much as that this morning at the AGM when quizzed about it.

Surely a progressive company like Seek, which is hip and groovy and online. It's not some old fuddy-duddy board. It's a young vibrant new company. Many of your staff are female, many of your customers are female, and i think ....

Chairman: is this a speech or a question?

Stephen Mayne
: well its both!

I would like to ask you, specifically, to get out of the dungeon and be one of the worst companies - in terms of board diversity when it comes to gender issues, and given you've got two gaps on the board and you do have this ratio issue with founders and these sorts of things, that you could move to addressing this situation.

Maybe I could answer the question?

Stephen Mayne:
Love to hear it!

Thank you. In terms of the numbers on the board, certainly with two non executives having recently retired, it is our intention in the short term to appoint at least one additional non executive director, and then over the following, perhaps twelve or so months to look at whether or not another one would be appropriate.

In terms of what skills we will be looking for in that person, we take on board your comments about about diversity - very much on forefront of our mind. The board is going through a process currently, as to how we should go about finding additional candidates and selecting them, and what you are saying is most appropriate.