05/06/2020 - 15:29

CBH Group launches board review

05/06/2020 - 15:29

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Farm cooperative CBH Group has announced a review of its governance structure, shortly after one of its directors was narrowly voted off the board at a special general meeting and its long-serving chair was ousted.

CBH Group launches board review
CBH Group chairman Simon Stead.

Farm cooperative CBH Group has announced a review of its governance structure, a month after one of its directors was narrowly voted off the board at a special general meeting.

It also comes shortly after long-serving chair Wally Newman was replaced by Simon Stead.

CBH has an unusual board structure, with about 3,900 growers across five districts electing their own directors.

As well as nine member-elected directors, the board appoints up to three independent directors.

The chair has to be a member-elected director.

Its chief executive - former BHP executive Jimmy Wilson - is not a board member.

Mr Stead said the review would look externally to assess best practice from cooperatives and mutuals.

“In recent weeks and months, CBH’s governance structure has been the subject of many conversations with our members,” Mr Stead said in a statement.

“Members’ views are welcomed by the board and to ensure we make considered decisions that capture the broad views of our grower members, we have made the decision to commence a review of our governance framework and processes.

“Our goal is to look to the future of CBH’s governance so that we can continue our legacy of the past 87 years of creating and returning value to Western Australian growers.”

CBH said it was intended for the governance review to be completed prior to the next annual general meeting, due to be held in February next year.

The cooperative has also announced a by-election to fill one of two vacancies from District 4.

A decision on the second vacancy will be made at the completion of the governance review

The vacancies were caused by the removal of Trevor Badger at last month’s special general meeting and the resignation of Mr Newman.

Mr Badger was removed after just 51 per cent of voting members were in favour.

Mr Newman resigned in April after the board elected Mr Stead as chairman.

He had been on the board for 20 years and chair since 2014, and was re-elected as a director for a further three-year term in February this year.

While serving as chair, Mr Newman was the subject of controversy after being accused of releasing misleading company information.

He was also investigated internally for acting inappropriately towards women in 2018, resulting in him voluntarily attending personal coaching.

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