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New faces on board at Bluewave Seafood

BLUEWAVE Seafood’s re-invention as a public company will take a very decisive step next month with wholesale changes planned for its board of directors.

Two of Perth’s best-known business people already have been signed up, with Ray Della-Polina, executive chairman of national automotive retailing group Marlows, and Alan Tough, the former chief of Bains Harding, both becoming directors of the former Fremantle Fishermen’s Cooperative, ahead of the October 21 annual general meeting.

The arrival of the pair coincides with a plan for the seven existing directors to stand down from the board to run for four remaining board positions, if the AGM ratifies the appointments of Mr Tough and Mr Della-Polina as independent directors.

Bluewave chairman Vito Paparella said the changes were another major phase in the transformation of the lobster processing group since it changed from a cooperative to a public unlisted company almost a year ago.

“We are breaking the shackles of a cooperative and transforming ourselves,” he said.

Mr Paparella said part of the plan was to obtain the services of people with experience and a track record outside the lobster industry, while maintaining a close affiliation with the industry. Bluewave also was seeking a board with a 50:50 split among six members (down from the traditional nine and including an independent chairman), a move viewed as a credible step in the marketplace.

Mr Paparella said that, after 11 years as a director and seven as chairman, he was not certain whether he intended running for office again. During that period, the former cooperative has ridden some stormy financial seas and undergone significant restructuring.

The past year has not been all smooth either.

Efforts to raise about $5 million in equity to finance the building of a new factory floundered earlier this year, largely resulting in the departure of general manager Glenn Bosman.

However, the focus of industry speculation appears to have shifted in recent months to rival processors as the tough environment of a low catch has stretched some operators.

Mr Paparella underlined that shift by indicating that Bluewave will have good financial news to present to its shareholders next month.

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