Fonterra’s silent majority hold key

Published: Wed 11 Nov 2015 02:53 PM
Fonterra’s silent majority hold key to shareholder vote on number of directors
Fonterra shareholders who want to send a message to their company have been encouraged to support the proposal to reduce the number of directors on the company’s board.
Colin Armer and Greg Gent, the two former directors behind the proposal, say that shareholders are the only people who own the company’s constitution and the only people who have the right to change it.
Mr Gent said he wanted to encourage those who do not normally vote to do so this time.
He said that the Shareholders Council’s comment that even if shareholders voted in favour of the proposal their vote would not count was at the very best wrong.
“The shareholders’ council cannot disenfranchise shareholders,” Mr Gent said.
Mr Armer said that shareholders always have the right to change the constitution.
“We own it,” he said. “and nobody can take that away from us – not even the Shareholders’ Council.
“Things are pretty tough for all of us at the moment. I believe it is imperative we don’t waste any more time on this and that we make a positive change by telling the board to get on with the job.”
“Directors don’t like voting themselves out of jobs so they are not going to hurry up and do it. That’s why we shareholders are going to have to do it for them,” he said.
Mr Armer said that 50 per cent of the company’s shareholders generally do not vote in company affairs and they are the ones he is calling on to give their support to the proposal.
“It’s the silent majority that we believe hold the key to this. The board and council have failed to trust their shareholders’ voice on this issue but we believe that our fellow shareholders hold the key,” said Mr Armer. “They just need to make sure that they exercise their vote in greater numbers.
“Our proposal poses no risk to the cooperative, gets the most important change done quickly, fairly and efficiently, and will ensure that we get a board that can really get on with the job of building our company into a cooperative we can all be proud to be a part of.”

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