Directors gagged

23 Feb, 2006 01:03 PM
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AWB directors remain tight-lipped as the fallout from the Cole inquiry continues to damage AWB's already perilous reputation.

WA-based AWB directors told Farm Weekly they were legally bound not to disclose knowledge or information about matters raised at the Cole inquiry.

They had been independently advised that if they did they risked legal action from AWB, for breaching company confidentiality agreements.

Kondinin grower and AWB International director Wayne Gibson said despite the dramas unfolding at the inquiry, he could assure local growers the pool was protected and it was business as usual for pooling staff.

"We have a large crop this year to get in to the marketplace and we need to look after our existing and new customers," Mr Gibson said.

"I will be working hard to maximise returns to growers and of utmost importance to me is the protection of the best wheat marketing system in the world: our single desk."

Mr Gibson said management had unfortunately not yet specified exactly what it was doing to protect or maintain the company's reputation.

He said there would still be some positives to come out of the situation despite evidence revealed at the inquiry.

"There will no doubt be a higher level of transparency and hopefully a culture change," Mr Gibson said.

"The inquiry findings will provide a mandate for management to act in good conscience in business dealings.

"I am most concerned for the growers who are being kept in the dark about this.

"I appreciate their frustrations over feeling like they are the last to know in this issue, but I want growers to know we are working towards the best solutions for them as soon as possible.

"I am as frustrated as growers are because information is just not forthcoming."

p Meanwhile, Andrew Lindberg's future as AWB managing director was discussed at an AWB Ltd board meeting in Melbourne last week.

But AWB media manager Peter McBride refused to comment on the outcome of the meeting and refused to confirm it took place, saying AWB had never commented on board meetings and never would.

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