Q1. Did any of the proxy advisers recommend a vote against any of today's resolutions, including this remuneration report item, and did any resolutions receive less than 90% support. If so, why? Also, starting in 2024, why not disclose the proxy position to the ASX with the formal addresses to offer more timely disclosure to the market? Carsales started doing this last year, JB Hi Fi has been doing it since 2007 and Flight Centre did it this morning?
Answer: the chair read out a scripted response which offered no joy on the question of disclosing the proxies early - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
Q2. The stock is up 6% today so well done with the earnings update and on this terrific long term performance. We now have a market cap of $7.8 billion but this trails Carsales on $11.12 billion and REA Group on $20.3 billion. Andrew Bassat said at last year's AGM that selling IDP was one of his 3 biggest regrets. Given that IDP now has a market cap of $6.5 billion, does Andrew agree we'd be bigger than Carsales if we'd hung onto it. Also, what were his two other big regrets at Seek?
Answer: the chair said that Seek's investments in Mexico and Brazil had been disappointing but Andrew didn't offer any more insight. See video of exchange via Twitter.
Q3. 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 on all resolutions and was a voluntary disclosure initiative adopted by the likes of Metcash, Altium, AUI, Dexus, Webjet, Tabcorp and Myer over the past two years. The ASX itself and Qantas both did it for the first time this season. Do candidate Vanessa Wallace and the chair agree that it would be good to share with retail shareholders how many of them voted, rather than just retaining that data within the board?
Answer: they made encouraging noises but then failed to deliver in this voting outcome announcement.
Q4. Well done for diversifying the board perspective with some offshore talent as we grow the business in Asia. Whilst dealing with these director election resolutions, could chair Graham Goldsmith comment as to whether any processes have commenced around chair succession. His latest 3 year term expires at next year's AGM at which he point he would have done 12 years on the board and 5 years as chair. This would normally be enough with most ASX100 chairs. Is the board working to execute a succession over the next 12 months?
Answer: chair Graham Goldsmith refused to bite on the succession-retirement question. See video of exchange via Twitter.
Q5. It has now been almost 2 and half years since co-founder Andrew Bassat stood down as CEO in June 2021, but remained on the board as a non-executive director. Could Andrew and new CEO Ian Narev both comment on how the relationship is working out and could Andrew comment as to whether he would like to stay on a non-executive director for the long term. If so, would he be interested in the non-executive chairman role down the track, similar to what Brian McNamee did at CSL? Also, does either Andrew or the chair maintain a dedicated office inside Seek's Cremorne HQ?
Answer: Andrew Bassat and Ian Narev both praised each other and said it was working well.
Q6. Has the work from home phenomenon post-COVID been a net positive or negative for Seek in terms of our business in the broader talent management market? Where have we settled at in terms of our Cremorne HQ? How many people would come into the head office on an average day and how many days a week on average would our people work from home?
Answer: Sydney-based CEO Ian Narev said they benefit from complexity so work from home negotiation and younger staff job-hopping a lot were all good for Seek's bottom line. Watch video of exchange via Twitter. He also said Thursday night drinks are a good way to get staff into the office.
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