By Jenny Ruth
Sunday 3rd April 2011 3 Comments
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Guinness Peat Group founder Sir Ron Brierley should also leave its board, says the New Zealand Shareholders Association (NZSA) chairman John Hawkins.
His call follows last week's announcement two other directors are leaving GPG.
“Ron would be better to stand down. What does he bring to the board of a constructive nature that respects the shareholders and adds to shareholder value,” Hawkins says.
Last month, Sir Ron denounced the company's current direction, which is to sell off most of its assets over time and return capital to shareholders, in an email exchange with former NZSA chairman Bruce Sheppard.
“I fear we are entering a period of increasing madness at GPG. I will have more to say in coming weeks and months,” Sir Ron said.
He also said the NZSA was “a refuge for misfits, malcontents and blowhards.”
Hawkins says Sir Ron had wanted the NZSA to publicly release a letter from him “which we didn't so he released it himself.”
In an earlier email to Hawkins Sir Ron had defended GPG's policy of not holding its annual shareholders' meetings (ASMs) in New Zealand, despite most of its shareholders residing here.
“Moving the whole circus to Ruatoria or Invercargill or wherever in New Zealand will cost at least NZ$500,000 quite apart from considerable staff disruption,”' he wrote. “For what? So a few show ponies can strut their stage for a short while?”
The next ASM will be held in New Zealand on June 8.
The NZSA is “very supportive of the work the new directors have done and supportive of the direction they're taking going forward,” he says.
Last week, GPG said long-standing executive director Gary Weiss will leave at the end of April and that Sir Ron's replacement as GPG chairman Mark Johnson will leave after the June 8 annual shareholders' meeting.
Johnson was one of four new independent directors appointed last September who have been instrumental in setting the company's new direction.
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