The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) is commenting on the Qantas AGM, at which shareholders delivered an eye-watering first strike on remuneration: 83% AGAINST.
34% of votes were cast AGAINST the re-election of Todd Sampson - more than a tripling of the highest vote ever recorded against a management-supported director at Qantas, according to available records, which date back to 2008 (Previous record was 10.3% against Maxine Brenner’s re-election in 2018. Source data: Diligent).
Group CEO and Executive Director Vanessa Hudson, incumbent director Belinda Hutchinson AC, and new directors Doug Parker and Heather Smith all received strong endorsement by shareholders.
Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:
“Today’s result marks the second time this year that an ASX100 board led by Richard Goyder has faced the wrath of shareholders. At today’s Qantas AGM and at Woodside's AGM in April, investors showed they expect better on corporate governance and can’t be bought off with last minute concessions that do little more than wallpaper over fundamental problems.
“The eye-watering 83% vote against the remuneration report delivers a huge first strike, and the record-breaking 34% vote against director Todd Sampson comes as no surprise.
“The Qantas board was too slow to read the room, and failed to satiate investor concerns despite the departure of the company’s CEO, three directors, and Mr Goyder’s belated decision to vacate his chairmanship before the next AGM.
“The parallels between today’s vote at Qantas and the Goyder-led Woodside AGM earlier this year are impossible to ignore. At Woodside, an investor-led campaign against the climate governance failings of the Goyder-led board resulted in an unprecedented 35% vote against a director - despite an 11th hour rescue attempt by Woodside to give shareholders a vote on the company’s climate plan in 2024.
“On both occasions, shareholders have clearly indicated they expect consistent and competent corporate governance from directors with the requisite skills to be there, and the willingness to step up and do what needs to be done.
“Woodside shareholders will have an opportunity to vote directly on Mr Goyder’s chairmanship at the next Woodside AGM in April 2024, where he is up for re-election.”