Former Australian Wool Innovation chair Walter Merriman will stand for the AWI board at the 2019 annual general meeting, if a recommendation to impose a 10 year cap on director terms is dismissed by shareholders.
A performance review of AWI, ordered by the Federal Agriculture Minister and undertaken by Ernst & Young this year, recommended a 10-year cap on director terms and a two-year roll-off period, which would make Mr Merriman ineligible to stand in 2019.
The 10-year director term cap has been listed to go to a shareholder vote at an extraordinary general meeting in mid- March next year.
Incoming AWI chair Colette Garnsey made the comments about Mr Merriman in response to a question from the floor at last week’s AGM.
Fairfax Agricultural Media sought to clarify the comments and received the following statement from an AWI spokesperson.
“(Ms Garnsey) later added that this would of course be subject to the outcome of the extraordinary general meeting and there was a lot of water to pass under the bridge before then,” the spokesperson said.
“Ms Garnsey said Mr Merriman has always said it was the shareholders who put him on the board of AWI and it will be the shareholders who decide if they still want him to represent them.
“Indeed if he stands again that is his choice and it will the the growers’ choice as to whether they appoint him to the board.”
Newly appointed president of WoolProducers Australia, Ed Storey, said he believed Ms Garnsey’s comments were not intended to cause controversy.
“There is a framework in which the board operates and if that changes at the AGM then obviously they will be bound by that,” Mr Storey said.
“But irrespective of the any changes, the next election is 12 months away and that’s a long time.
“So let’s just wait and see what happens at the end of next year.”
Mr Merriman joined the board in 2004 and resigned as chairman last month.