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DJ’s Board Exodus After Controversy

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Peter Mason, Chairman of David Jones (DJS), and non-executive directors Steve Vamos and Leigh Clapham have all resigned from the company board, it has emerged.
 
The resignations come just weeks after an ASIC investigation into suspected share trading, following the purchase of company shares by the two directors, days after Myer offered to buyout the high end retailer, an offer which only later became public knowledge.   

In October, Vamos and Clapham, ex Vice President of Mastercard, bought 12,500 and 20,000 DJS shares respectively, which was approved by Mason. ASIC later cleared the duo of any wrongdoing.

Mason and Clapham advised the company they will resign within the next three months, while Vamos, a former MD of Microsoft, will resign “immediately”, it was announced yesterday.

“I feel its the right time to go, and I wish the company well” he said. 

The resignations came after a series of meetings held Monday, with “major shareholders furious about the board’s handling of the Myer merger proposal,” reports Fairfax Media.  

The retailer also announced a ‘board renewal’ including Jane Harvey who has been appointed Deputy Chairman “with immediate effect” and will lead board renewal, which includes appointing three new non-executive directors, in a statement to the ASX, yesterday.

Also yesterday, the competition watchdog, ACCC rejected media reports that it would be “unlikely” to object to a merger between Myer and David Jones.

The retail merger, if approved, would by no means be a done deal, and would be subject to “a very thorough review,” the watchdog warned.  

“To ensure there is no confusion about the position of the ACCC on this issue, the ACCC wishes to make clear that it has formed no such view and it has provided no such indication, either formally or informally, to Myer or any other person.

Should Myer or David Jones decide to pursue a merger, the watchdog said it will “conduct a very thorough review, in accordance with its published guidelines, that would explore a range of potential competition issues.”