Q1. Our new CFO Janelle Hopkins was previously CFO at Australia Post where you can argue the spending culture under previous CEOs Ahmed Fahour and Christine Holgate got a little out of hand, as demonstrated by the Cartier watches situation. Is Janelle going to be tough enough on board and senior management expense control at REA and how much did the board's recent trip to Paris for the Rugby World Cup cost shareholders?
Answer: chair Hamish McLennan said Janelle was voted CFO of the year and was very tough. Also said European board trips are common for ASX50 companies and the rugby was just some entertainment at the end - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
Q2. As the News Corp nominee as chair of REA Group, could Hamish McLennan please comment on what today's handover of the executive chair role at News Corp from Rupert Murdoch to Lachlan Murdoch means for REA and News Corp's 61% stake in the company, which is today worth $12.7 billion. Wouldn't it make sense for this stake to be distributed to News Corp shareholders given that REA is now worth more than the whole of News Corp.
Answer: chair Hamish was reluctant to comment on News Corp matters but keen to stress that Lachlan made the initial $10m REA investment and loves REA - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
Q3. Nick Dowling is not an independent director because he is CEO of Jellis Craig, a major real estate agency. After 3 years on the board, could Nick explain how he manages the conflict of interest of being a representative director for real estate agents at the same time as REA keeps using its market power to push through more price increases on the industry, so much so that we now have a market cap of $20.8 billion, which is even more than our controlling shareholder News Corp.
Answer: the chair Hamish McLennan defended Dowling's performance who wasn't allowed to respond - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
Q4. Could the CEO summarise his past LTI grants as to whether they have vested or lapsed. Also, has he ever sold any ordinary shares in the company or bought any on market without relying on an incentive scheme to build his equity position in the company? Please don't say look it up in the annual report and through ASX announcements. It's complicated and the CEO could factually summarise the situation in 60 seconds.
Answer: the rem chair Nick Dowling jumped in to answer this one when he ducked the earlier questions directed at him - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
Q5. Thank you for offering shareholders a hybrid AGM this year & will you commit to keep doing this in future years to maximise shareholder participation in terms of voting and debating items such as this proposed fee cap increase for the non-executive directors? Also, thank you for disclosing the proxies to the ASX along with the formal addresses and will you make an archive of today's webcast available for shareholders who weren't able to watch proceedings live? Congratulation for the strong voting support on all items today.
Answer: was hoping for a "we'll stick with this great format" response but instead chair Hamish left the door open to ban online but saying it was reviewed each year - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
Q6. Could Hamish McLennan please address his workload challenges considering the attention that Rugby Australia needs, the workload intensity from his push for ARN Media, which he chairs, to take over Southern Cross Media & his decision to join the board of US-based poker machine manufacturer Light and Wonder during the year. Combine that with the huge loss of value at Magellan, where he is now deputy chair, how does he possible juggle all these commitments? Also, how does Kelly have time for our board given ongoing Optus woes?
Answer: batted it away as usual saying he never missed an REA commitment - watch video of exchange via Twitter.
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