11 questions asked at the 2021 Seek AGM

November 18, 2021

Below are the 11 questions asked at the 2021 Seek AGM, along with a brief summary of the answer.

1. Did any of the 5 main proxy advisers in the Australian market - ACSI, ASA, Ownership Matters, Glass Lewis and ISS - recommend a vote against any of today's resolutions? Which of the proxy advisers are covering us and has their been a material proxy protest vote against any of today's resolutions? Will you disclose the proxy votes before the debate on today's resolutions so shareholders can ask questions if there have been any protest votes?

Answer: a couple had issues with the incentive grants which was evident in these rem protest votes which ranged between 14% and 17%.

2. Please explain why we went so heavily into Jobkeeper, claiming $17.8 million across 2 financial years when companies of our size required a 50% drop in revenue to qualify. And why did we then repay $9.6 million of these claims. Given that we are booming and our market capitalisation is now $12.64 billion, shouldn't we repay the remaining $8.17 million claimed so we are no longer associated with the widely rorted scheme.

Answer: we were down by the required amount in the June quarter.

3. Well done on retaining the services of Andrew Bassat as a NED and congratulations to Andrew for outstanding performance over the long term. Would it be fair to see that his biggest regret was selling 50% of IDP Education at $2.65 in the November 2015 float when the stock today closed at $39.60, valuing the company at $10.78 billion. Was any consideration at the time given to doing a demerger so that Seek shareholders could share in the IDP upside.

Answer: Yes, selling IDP was one of my 3 big regrets at Seek but he wouldn't say what the other two were. At the time they were facing an existential threat from LinkedIn and Indeed and felt they need to wholly focus on the core business.

4. The war for tech talent is getting more intense. Given that the big 3 online classified giants - Seek, REA and Carsales - are all based within a few hundred metres of each other in the City of Yarra, has any consideration been given to working together with local Melbourne universities to develop and nurture more tech talent in Australia.

Answer: Yes, it is quite a war and some collaboration is being pursued.

5. Since retiring as joint CEO, Paul Bassat has build a great reputation as a successful venture capitalist through Square Peg. Will Seek Ventures have any cross-over with Square Peg and has Andrew Bassat had good visibility over all the successful deals delivered by his brother at Square Peg, providing insights that will be helpful for Seek Ventures. Will there be an element of friendly competition between the Bassat brothers in the venture space or is it more about collaboration?

Answer: We talk but there isn't a lot of overlap as Seek Ventures will only be focused on human capital management whereas Square Peg is far broader.

6. Given the range of interesting discussions across a range of topics today, could the chair undertake to make an archived copy of the webcast plus a full transcript of proceedings available on the company's website. Nine Entertainment chairman Peter Costello, who appreciates the benefit of a parliamentary hansard transcript where MPs don't have to scroll through old videos to find out what was said, made this change last week & had a full transcript of Nine AGM online before the end of the day.

Answer: Yes for the webcast archive and we'll think about the transcript.

7. How busy was the St Kilda Presidency over the past two years for Andrew and has Ian Narev moved into Andrew Bassat's office?

Answer: Andrew didn't have much going on outside Seek and when his kids became less interested in spending time with him, the St Kilda Presidency filled the gap. The chair said Seek has just moved office from St Kilda Rd to Cremorne so there was no CEO office to move into as such. They will be co-located in the same building but protocols are in place.

8. Is the candidate Graham Goldsmith intending to serve a full 3 year term. Well done on his excellent track record. At the end of this term, it will be 12 years on the board. Will that be it or could Graham run again in 2024?

Answer: The nomination committee will review at the end of the 3 year term but no firm commitment to this being his last term on the board.

9. Did Andrew consult with any other founders who transitioned into a non-executive role before deciding to make this step. Is has worked well before such as with Frank Lowy at Westfield and David Clarke at Macquarie but is generally discouraged. When was the last time Andrew was elected to the board, given the exemption for CEOs.

Answer: Andrew has never previously been elected and the key point was making sure Ian Narev was comfortable with Andrew staying on.

10. What was the process by which board candidate and audit committee chair Michael Wachtel was recruited 3 years ago and how did we assess his performance?

Answer: Graham Goldsmith had come across him, they were looking for a new audit committee chair, then chair Neil Chatfield got involved before he was interviewed by the full board and offered the gig.

11. That was a big protest on the last item. What specifically were the proxy advisers concerned about?

Answer: check transcript.