Growers pen CBH Board concerns

29 Jan, 2015 01:00 AM
Chris Reichstein, Wittenoom Hills, was one of 11 growers who co-signed a letter of concern about the CBH Board.
We feel the brand of CBH is being tainted by power plays and agripolitical influences.
Chris Reichstein, Wittenoom Hills, was one of 11 growers who co-signed a letter of concern about the CBH Board.

A GROUP of WA grain growers have come together to co-sign a letter that highlights their concerns over a perceived lack of cohesion on the CBH Board.

The 11 growers, who represent a significant volume of grain, are spread from Esperance and Woogenellup in the south, Merredin in the east to Yuna and Mullewa in the north.

In the letter the growers say that “many in the farming community are sick of the apparent infighting, ego and power struggles to get candidates onto the board or peddle influence within the board”.

One of the co-signers of the letter, Wittenoom Hills grower Chris Reichstein, said the group of growers had harboured these concerns for some time.

“Once we saw the ‘dirty tricks’ campaign containing false allegations against a sitting director and the fact that it was anonymous, we decided it was time to do something,” Mr Reichstein said.

“We feel the brand of CBH is being tainted by power plays and agripolitical influences at the board level.”

In the letter, the growers say it is “a critical time for the future of the co-operative, given that competition in storage and handling is here”.

“The way the board is being perceived in the wider community is not doing CBH any good,” Mr Reichstein said.

“We want to be in a situation where farmer directors and independent directors would aspire to be on the board and, from an independent director point of view in particular, I don't think that would be the case at the moment.

“If we keep seeing this sort of behaviour how are we going to attract the calibre of people required to run a multi-billion dollar organisation at a board and senior management level.

“Three independent directors have left after their first term has expired which leads one to question why?”

The signatories of the letter say they are motivated by their concerns for the future and reputation of CBH not from any desire to see it move down any particular structural or business path.

“There is no ideological or political agenda, only a wish to see a strong and cohesive board with the vision and the capability to take CBH into the future,” Mr Reichstein said.

CBH grower members in districts one, three and five have until 10am on Monday, February 16, to vote in the director elections.

For a full copy of the letter see this week's Farm Weekly.

Travis King

Travis King

Is a journalist for Farm Weekly
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


29/01/2015 5:45:08 AM, on Farm Weekly

CBH is currently in a vulnerable position (see article Bunge). Board and management are going to have to show initiative and be very proactive in the face of direct competition. Unfortunately antics by some board members in playing out issues through the press have, I believe, dealt a major blow to credibility of CBH. If this is repeated maybe it will be time for growers to call for an EGM and demand a spill of regionally elected directors. Personal philosophy and agripolitics have NO place in the board room.
29/01/2015 7:42:55 PM, on Farm Weekly

The wheels are falling off. Competition moving up country. Directors brawling. Loyalists becoming radical. It would be comical if there wasn't $6 billion of grower equity about to be fizzled into the ether. Of course all entirely predictable. These directors are ill equiped to lead this company in the face of real world competitive threats.


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