“It’s Only a Matter of Time”, Lew Says Myer’s Board Isn’t Safe Yet

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By Published On: December 3, 20180 Comments

After a year-long slur campaign, Solomon Lew’s attempt to overthrow the Myer board has failed, but it’s not all happy news for Myer.

At Myer’s AGM on Friday, the company’s shareholders voted against the business’s remuneration report for the second year in a row, with 61 percent approving the proposed report, falling short of the required 75 percent to avoid a vote against the board.

However, when it came down to it, the majority of shareholders voted in favour of Myer’s existing board of directors.

“The board acknowledges the vote against our remuneration approach. Like last year, we will consult with shareholders on any improvement or changes we can make for next year,” Myer’s Chairman, Garry Hounsell said in a statement on Friday.

“Regardless of how shareholders voted today, they can rest assured the Myer board will lead the company in a united and cohesive way,” he continued.

At the meeting, 61.83 percent of shareholders voted in favour of the remuneration report, while 37.49 percent voted against it. When it came time to vote on the conditional spill resolution put forth after the second strike against the board’s remuneration report, 63.26 percent of shareholders voted against a board spill, while 35.9 percent sided with Myer’s biggest shareholder and critic, Premier Investments.

Despite the ups and downs of the AGM, Hounsell believes the results of the AGM are an indication that shareholders are supportive of a conflict-free board.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank shareholders who have stood with us and supported the Myer board today,” Hounsell said. “We are grateful for their support of our directors Lyndsey Cattermole and Dave Whittle, who both bring significant skills to the Myer board.”

“They have stood with us to ensure that we won’t let a conflicted shareholder and competitor take control of Myer. Importantly, they have stood with us to allow John King and his team time to implement our Customer First Plan… These same shareholders have ensured that the spill resolution has failed,” Hounsell said.

However, it seems Myer’s board won’t be able to rest easy just yet, with newly appointed director, Lyndsey Cattermole receiving a 42.74 percent protest vote, while David Whittle wasn’t that much better with 36.27 percent voting against his re-election. Despite both directors holding their positions, for now, the pair have come under fire for their lack of retail experience.

Lew, it seems, also isn’t prepared to back down, claiming it’s “only a matter of time” until Myer’s board of directors is overthrown in the interests of the company’s future.

“It’s only a matter of time…it may be another three or six months, but it’ll be over for them. I can guarantee you of that,” Lew told reporters at a press conference after the AGM.

Moving forward, Myer says it will continue to focus on implementing CEO, John King’s customer-first plan, as the company looks to turn-around its failing department store model.

According to a trading update released in response to accusations that Myer wasn’t fulfilling its reporting requirements, Myer’s sales for the three months ending in October were down 4.8 percent, while same-store sales were down 4.3 percent. In the same period, the company’s main competitor, David Jones, reported a sales increase of 2.9 percent, and same-store sales increase of 2.4 percent for the 20 weeks ending November 11. Online sales during this time also rose by 48.4 percent.

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