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Brierley should leave GPG too: Shareholders Assn

By Jenny Ruth

Sunday 3rd April 2011 3 Comments

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 Jenny Ruth

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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Comments from our readers

On 4 April 2011 at 1:00 pm Ron Topping said:
I am a long standing shareholder of GPG with a holding in excess of 300,000. I have always appreciated the growth value of the share, and have used the holding as a repsitory for my retirement nestegg. However it's value does not seem to be recognised by the buying public, and I cannot understand why this is. It as indeed time for the old gaurd to step down, if for nothing other than their inability to convince the market once again of the value of GPG. I admire Sir Ron, but I cannot help thinking that he has allowed an arrogant attitude to permeate within the workings of the Board.
On 4 April 2011 at 5:51 pm Christopher said:
If it came to a vote then Mr Hawkins would have my proxy. The old guard have had a very well rewarded and not altogether successful run. Mr Topping, the share value reflects what investors think of the directorate, and there hasn't been much by way of growth value of the shares....more like growth in the number of shares on issue which has diluted the value.
On 4 April 2011 at 11:53 pm paco rabane said:
coats still owes big money to the EU for price fixing in Europe.Who led that?
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