CPA board prevails in showdown with members
http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 523-h10fit
23 May 2018 AFR
by Edmund Tadros Patrick Durkin
The new board of CPA Australia and chairman Peter Wilson have triumphed over rebel members in a battle over the way the embattled accounting body is run after a fiery annual general meeting in Melbourne.
The final results for 14 resolutions voted upon by members show that the board's four proposals passed with between 79 and 83 per cent of the votes and proxies submitted.
These proposals include changing the way directors are appointed, creating a council of presidents, cutting the number of directors to 10 and removing the Auditor-General's salary as a benchmark for director pay.
"Members have voted to change and improve our governance arrangements," Mr Wilson told The Australian Financial Review. "While this board has made positive change and progress since October, it is clear there is still a lot of work to do to rebuild trust after the problems of last year."
The 10 member-proposed resolutions, which were opposed by the board, failed to get the required support in the member vote. These proposals included capping director pay, permitting members to directly elect the board, and having Mr Wilson removed from the board.
The resolution to remove Mr Wilson from the board received support from 31 per cent of voting members, or 1986 members, with 69 per cent, or 4360, voting against the measure. Another 604 members abstained.
Roughly 7000 members voted, or assigned their proxy vote, across the 14 resolutions, a small fraction of the 123,000-strong full members eligible to vote.
The low voter turnout happened despite a tumultuous year the accountants' union involving an unprecedented member uprising over indiscriminate spending and exorbitant salaries that led to the sacking of CEO Alex Malley and the entire board resigning.
Members expressed anger during the AGM, held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre on Tuesday night, over revelations by The Australian Financial Review that CPA Australia has been actively harvesting proxy votes from overseas members.
Mr Wilson revealed during the AGM, which was attended by more than 300 members, that the board's four resolutions had all received more than the required 75 per cent support based on proxies received before the meeting.
"This election is a tainted process and those numbers are tainted by the proxy harvesting," member Ben Cohen claimed.
Mr Wilson rejected claims of proxy harvesting, "they are false," he said.
Another member who raised the allegation, Glen Hasselman, was told by Mr Wilson that the accusations were defamatory.
"Are you threatening me?" Mr Hasselman asked.
Mr Wilson began the meeting by saying the new board was "sincerely and deeply" sorry for the hurt that had been caused and vowed to put members interests at the heart of the organisation.
But disgruntled CPA members demanded that Mr Malley and his board have their life membership stripped, Deloitte auditor Mark Stretton be removed and that the loss-making CPA Australia Advice be shut down.
Another CPA member asked: "We should be setting a gold standard for transparency and accountability...why are we not setting that standard for ourselves?"
Accountant Peter Polgar asked the meeting how they can allow the loss-making CPA Advice to continue. "Can we please shut it down?," Mr Polgar said, again to applause.
CPA Australia Advice made a loss of $5.7 million in 2016. Mr Wilson told the meeting they were awaiting the findings of a PwC report and would then announce their decision.
Another member asked how much had been spent on lawyers, accountants and advisers "to clean up the mess?" .Mr Wilson disclosed the independent review cost around $1 million and legal fees were around $1.3 million.
|Merry Christmas to Peter Wilson. When it was suggested that Peter Wilson should be independent of the old board so that we can have a fresh start Peter responded with "That's your issue". Summary of the meeting here: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=594|
A good summary of where we are up to by Joe Aston of the AFR, linked to from here: viewtopic.php?f=5&p=4137#p4137
If you are new to this website read the story so far: viewtopic.php?t=321#p1793
Check out some of the AFR articles, too many to list and check out some of the ABC reports: http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 215-h055ej http://www.afr.com/business/accounting/ ... 211-h02x1d http://www.abc.net.au/news/programs/the ... s,/8626662
Please join this website to participate in discussions. Also join our email list at http://eepurl.com/cWsgfb
1 post • Page 1 of 1