1. Why wasn't a CEO address lodged with the ASX as is normal with ASX300 companies. One and half pages from the chair and no formal CEO presentation is not treating this AGM respectfully. Could the CEO please give a 10-15 minute summary of the year just gone and his perspective on our prospects going forward.
Answer: he subsequently spoke off the cuff after the question was lodged so I requested that it not be asked and it wasn't.
2. When disclosing the outcome of voting on all resolutions today, could you please advise the ASX how many shareholders voted for and against each item, similar to what happens with a scheme of arrangement? This will provide a better gauge of retail shareholder sentiment and was a disclosure initiative adopted by the likes of Metcash, Altium and Dexus last year and Webjet and Tabcorp so far this AGM season. We have almost 3000 shareholders but less than 200 would have voted today. It would be good to know how many voted, even if you don't disclose how they voted. Retail voter participation in Australia is tragically low at less than 5% and increased transparency would hopefully drive participation.
Answer: we'll just follow the normal rules.
3. Servcorp has a history of making big political donations to the Coalition and now we have one of John Howard's Cabinet Minister as our chair. Are we politically biased? Why weren't these past political donations funded by the founder/CEO personally, rather than through this public company. Will Mark Vaile, as our independent chair, commit to not use any more Servcorp shareholder funds on political expenditure going forward?
Answer: the founder/CEO said he matches Servcorp political donations publicly and believes companies should be able to back right wing political parties. Watch video via twitter.
4. Given the chair read out the proxy position at the start of the meeting, why wasn't this data lodged with the ASX along with his formal address? Will the chair commit to disclose the proxies to the ASX ahead of next year's AGM given that the likes of Afterpay, Brambles, Carsales, JB Hi Fi, NAB, Origin Energy, Seek and Viva Energy have all done this in the past and Sims Group did only yesterday? That would allow for a more fully informed debate, wouldn't it? Also, do any of the 5 main proxy advisers - ACSI, Ownership Matters, Glass Lewis, ISS and ASA - cover Servcorp and did they recommend a vote against any of today's resolutions?
Answer: ISS and Glass Lewis recommended in favour of all resolutions and no change planned with proxy disclosure.
5. How on earth does the chair think he can ban shareholders from recording this meeting on their phones from home? This is not Russia or North Korea. Given the 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? The likes of Nine, AGL, ASX, ANZ, Domino's and Lend Lease all produced their 1st AGM transcripts in 2021. Will you follow suit today? This is something IAG has been doing since 2003.
Answer: not asked.
6. When was the CEO last formally voted onto the board by shareholders as a director and could the chair comment on whether the independent directors have a succession plan in mind given the founder is now well into his 70s and hasn't even bothered lodging a CEO address with the ASX ahead of today's AGM.
Answer: CEOs aren't required to be elected and Alf interrupted to say he was in his 80s now.
7. I am a City of Manningham councillor and we are very keen to help facilitate the establishment of a business co-working space in Manningham, which is a prosperous local government area of 125,000 residents about 20 kilometres to the east of the Melbourne CBD. Does Alf have any suggestions on how we should go about this and do local governments ever get involved in facilitating co-workers spaces for their communities?
Answer: Alf said it doesn't really work when governments get involved. They tried a JV with University of Wollongong but that didn't really work. In Tokyo, governments forced developers to make space in office towers available for budding entrepreneurs.
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