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“Back The Board” Urges Myer Chair, As Spill Looms

Myer chairman JoAnne Stephenson has urged investors at today’s annual meeting to back the current board, as a second strike and a potential spill looms over the retailer.

Should the board suffer a second strike against its remuneration report, a vote to spill the board would leave the door wide open for major Myer shareholder Solomon Lew to bring in his own board members, stacking it in Premier Investments’ favour.

Lew has been very vocal about his wish to overthrow the current board, believing them to be responsible for the company’s recent misfortune.

Premier, which controls 15.8 per cent of the vote, has voted against the election of new non-executive director Ari Mervis, former head of Carlton & United Breweries, and against the re-election of long-serving directors Jacquie Naylor and David Whittle.

Premier voted against the remuneration report, and has voted for a board spill motion.

“With your support today, we will continue to ensure the board remains majority independence with an independent chairman,” Stephenson told investors.

“We will continue working to ensure that any board changes have the support of and mandate from all shareholders.

“I seek your support today for stability so that [management] can remain focused on the upcoming critical trading period and the delivery of the medium and longer plans.

“We have achieved a great deal during the past three years despite the impacts of COVID-19 through half of that three year period. But we know there is much more to be done, and we are really excited to continue to execute and deliver results to our customers, and to our shareholders.”

Solomon Lew was offered a seat on the board in July when Premier Investments upped their controlling stake to 15.77 per cent, but rejected this offer, instead doubling down on his calls for the board to be removed.

“Since [2017], Myer has had three chairmen, one executive chairman, two CEOs, numerous strategy launches and countless strategic reviews and re-launches. All the while their performance has consistently declined, disappointing their shareholders, customers and suppliers,” Mr Lew said at the time.

“Premier has nothing to gain from spending time with the members of the current Myer board.”

He then pointed at Myer’s failure to appoint a new chairman since Garry Hounsell’s departure late last year as proof positive that “no credible company director would accept an offer to work with the current Myer board.”

“The only thing Premier will accept from the current Myer board is the resignation of its three remaining non-executive directors.”

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