CBH Group has appointed former RAC chief executive Terry Agnew and recruitment specialist Suzanne Ardagh to a panel to assess potential board candidates.
Prospective board candidates will be encouraged to go through the Candidate Assessment Panel, which will evaluate their skills, attributes and experience and provide a report to CBH members before voting.
The process is only mandatory for incumbent directors.
In a statement, CBH said the process was one of several initiatives to be introduced in the past year, following the board’s governance review in 2020.
CBH Group chair Simon Stead said growers had shown their support for a change in governance which included the introduction of a candidate assessment panel for member director elections with 65 per cent of growers surveyed supporting the initiative.
“Our hope is that this actually is seen as a very useful tool for the way people can show their skills and attributes to the members in the election process, rather than relying on electioneering or having a high profile already,” Mr Stead told reporters this morning.
“It will make no endorsement as to who the preferred candidate is or whether someone should or shouldn’t stand, it really provides some recommendations around when we are looking at the skills and attributes of that person.”
Mr Agnew was the chief executive of RAC (WA) from 1998 to 2019 and has held a range of board roles including HCF Australia and Infrastructure WA.
Ms Ardagh is director- board advisory at Lester Blades, chair of Stanley College and serves on boards including Cancer Council.
The panel will deliver a report about all candidates who participate in the process, including a rating and assessment comments for each person, which will be provided in the voting materials.
The skills CBH are looking for include in-depth grain farming experience, financial literacy, strategic thinking, governance, risk management and innovation.
Attributes include honesty, teamwork, emotional intelligence, capability, communication and dedication.
The governance review was announced in June 2020.
At the time, Mr Stead said the review was undertaken because CBH’s governance structure had been the subject of conversations with their members.
The review was called a month after one of its directors, Trevor Badger, was narrowly voted off the board at a special general meeting.
Mr Newman has been on the board for 20 years and served as chair since 2014 and was re-elected as a director for a further three-year term in February this year.
While serving as chair, he was the subject of controversy after being accused of releasing misleading company information and was investigated for acting inappropriately towards women, resulting in him attending personal coaching.