Bank bashing hurts economy

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 15 & 19 : 24-Jan-20

Former ANZ Bank CEO John McFarlane will succeed Lindsay Maxsted as Westpac’s chairman on 2 April. McFarlane has warned that continued criticism of the banking sector and policies such as the bank levy will affect the industry’s returns and ultimately impact on the economy via lower government revenue. His appointment follows Westpac’s alleged large-scale breach of anti-money laundering laws, which led to the departure of Maxsted and CEO Brian Hartzer.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Veteran banker to chair Westpac

Original article by John Durie, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 15 & 16 : 23-Jan-20

Former ANZ Bank CEO John McFarlane is set to succeed Lindsay Maxsted as Westpac’s chairman. Maxsted will step down ahead of schedule in response to the bank’s breach of anti-money laundering laws. Sources have indicated that McFarlane was chosen due to factors such as his knowledge of the retail banking sector, his reputation as a ‘change agent’ and the fact that he has no prior links to Westpac. The major bank has yet to appoint a permanent successor to former CEO Brian Hartzer.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE

Maxsted hastens BHP exit in retreat from blue chip boards

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 19 : 15-Jan-20

BHP director Lindsay Maxsted will step down later in 2020, after nine years on the board. He was re-elected at BHP’s annual meeting in late 2019, and gave no indication that he intended to retire. Maxsted has declined to comment on the reasons for his impending exit from the board; however, a major BHP shareholder has indicated that they had expected Maxsted to step down in the next year or so given the money-laundering scandal at Westpac, where he has also stepped down. BHP says the timing of Maxsted’s departure is linked to tenure guidelines which suggest that directors should not serve for more than nine years.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

Retail investors turn on director Marriott

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 5-Dec-19

Westpac’s money-laundering scandal is set to dominate its AGM on 12 December. The Australian Shareholders’ Association has signalled its intention to vote against the remuneration report and the re-election of Westpac director Peter Marriott. However, it will support the re-election of Nerida Caesar, Steve Harker and Margaret Seale. The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors has indicated that it will vote in favour of Marriott’s re-election. Some 64.2 per cent of votes cast at Westpac’s 2018 AGM rejected its remuneration report.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN SHAREHOLDERS’ ASSOCIATION, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, LEGG MASON ASSET MANAGEMENT AUSTRALIA LIMITED, MARTIN CURRIE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT LIMITED

ACSI backs director resolutions

Original article by Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 21 : 29-Nov-19

The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors will back the re-election of four Westpac directors at the bank’s upcoming annual meeting. ACSI chair Louise Davidson says it would have voted differently if Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer had remained at the helm and chairman Lindsay Maxsted had not agreed to bring forward his retirement. Davidson adds that Maxsted’s successor will need to ensure that Westpac’s board has the right mix of skills to prevent another money-laundering scandal.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

The end of an era for Lowy family

Original article by Turi Condon
The Australian – Page: 17 & 27 : 30-Apr-19

Peter Lowy will step down from the board of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield at its AGM in May, having flagged his intention to retire from the board in March. Steven Lowy retired as a director of Scentre Group, which owns and operates Westfield shopping centres in Australia, in April. Peter Lowy’s decision means an end to the presence of the Lowy family on Westfield boards after more than 50 years. Meanwhile, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield CFO Jaap Tonckens says Unibail-Rodamco has "zero regrets" concerning the $32 billion Westfield takeover.

CORPORATES
UNIBAIL-RODAMCO-WESTFIELD – ASX URW, SCENTRE GROUP – ASX SCG, WESTFIELD CORPORATION, UNIBAIL-RODAMCO

Industry funds to back Murray for AMP chair

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 23-Apr-19

It is understood that the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors will conditionally back the appointment of David Murray as AMP chairman at its AGM in May. Proxy advisers have recommended that Murray be appointed. However, there is some controversy about private comments supposedly made by Murray. He is understood to have said that if there is a big vote against his appointment as a result of the controversy regarding the sale of AMP’s life business, the other two directors who were on the board when the decision was made would resign.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, CGI GLASS LEWIS PTY LTD, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD

Chronican to steer NAB out of trouble

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 7-Mar-19

National Australia Bank’s interim CEO Phil Chronican will succeed Ken Henry as chairman. There had been speculation that Chronican could be a contender to replace Andrew Thorburn as CEO, but Chronican says he did not want to commit to the arduous role of CEO on a permanent basis. Chronican adds that he does not expect the process of recruiting Thorburn’s successor to take very long. Henry and Thorburn both resigned following the release of the Hayne royal commission’s final report, which heavily criticised both men.

CORPORATES
NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Guthrie’s pay day: $1.64m to go away

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich, Zoe Samios
The Australian – Page: 3 : 7-Mar-19

The ABC’s acting David Anderson has told a Senate committee that former MD Michelle Guthrie was paid $730,000 gross to settle her adverse action claim. He said the public broadcaster agreed to a confidential settlement after legal advice suggested that it could have incurred costs of up to $2m if the case had gone to court. Labor and the Community & Public Sector Union have criticised the size of the payout. Guthrie also received a $911,117 severance package following her dismissal in September.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY, COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC SECTOR UNION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS, ABC ALUMNI

ABC paid Michelle Guthrie $500,000 to drop lawsuit

Original article by Aaron Patrick
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 6 : 5-Mar-19

Sources have indicated that investment banker and former ABC director Simon Mordant helped to negotiate a settlement with former MD Michelle Guthrie. Mordant has declined to comment on claims that he was asked to intervene in Guthrie’s dispute with the public broadcaster over her sacking in September. The settlement is said to include a payment of around $500,000 to discontinue her unfair dismissal claim, as well as a ‘nondisparagement clause’ that prevents all parties to the case from discussing the matter in the media.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM