Press Releases Westland Shareholders to Vote on Governance Changes
September 18, 2017
Westland Milk Products shareholders will vote next month on a package of proposed changes designed to improve and update the co-operative’s governance.
Westland Chairman Pete Morrison said, “We believe the changes recommended will set the structure and tone of the governance of our co-operative, and better equip Westland for the opportunities and challenges ahead of us.”
The recommendations in the package include:
• A reduction in the number of Westland Board Directors from 11 to 8 (including a reduction in shareholder-elected directors from 8 to 5).
• The eligibility criteria for all Director roles has been reviewed using best practice models and benchmarking against companies similar to Westland. This includes an Independent Candidate assessment that will be visible to shareholders.
• The shareholder candidates can nominate themselves and will undergo a transparent election process, including a ‘roadshow’ where nominees will present to shareholders within strict electioneering protocols.
• The three remaining independent directors are appointed by the Board, and their competencies and suitability for the role will be transparent to shareholders.
• A director ‘pipeline’ will be developed with clear process for nurturing highly capable future Westland Board Directors and governance leadership.
The proposals follow an extensive governance review conducted by a sub-committee of the board that included co-opted shareholders, directors and a governance consultant.
The review was sought by shareholders at last year’s annual meeting following criticism of the then board for its performance in a year that saw a $17 million loss and the lowest of any New Zealand dairy company payout to shareholders.
Morrison said that the Westland Governance Review was reported to the co-operative’s August Board meeting and its recommendations accepted. The final requirement is ratification of the package by shareholders.
“This was an independent, robust and highly analytical review undertaken at the request of shareholders,” Morrison said. “It drew on best practice and was led by Sue Suckling, one of the country’s leading Board Directors who has a wealth of practical governance expertise.
The vote will take place at a Special General Meeting at 11am in Hokitika on Thursday 5 October. Shareholders will be able to vote by proxy.
Media inquiries to:
P: 03 943 0580
C: 027 4191080