Mirvac chairman James MacKenzie re-elected with 87.8% AGM support

James MacKenzie has been re-elected as chairman of Mirvac at today’s AGM in Sydney, but not before copping a bashing from some small shareholders in attendance.

MacKenzie had the unanimous backing of Mirvac board members for his re-appointment as well as from major and institutional shareholders following his decision to sack former managing director and CEO Nick Collishaw and replace him with London-based Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.

The final vote was 87.8% in his favour with all other board re-appointments also confirmed by shareholders by a similar majority.

Shareholders that attended the meeting accounted for just 0.11% of Mirvac stock with major and institutional shareholders voting by proxy.

Prior to the vote, MacKenzie’s seven year tenure came under fire from a number of small shareholders disgruntled with the performance of the company over this period.

Winston Sammut, founder and managing director of Maxim Asset Management and an agitator for MacKenzie to stand down following the decision to get rid of Collishaw, pointed out that the Mirvac share price was $4.59 when MacKenzie was first appointed as a non-executive director (in January 2005) and were trading at $3.56 when he was appointed chairman in November 2005 and is now currently trading at $1.45.

“After seven years as chairman, Mirvac shares are down 59% - shareholders suffered a fall, while you (MacKenzie) benefited to tune of 105% rise in your salary," he said.

Sammut also pointed out that Collishaw had elected to reduce his salary while the Mirvac board had not.

“I consider it is time for you to move on – how you can you justify these sorts of numbers?” said Sammut, who ended up in a tense exchange with acting chairman Peter Hawkins, while MacKenzie’s re-election was being considered.

Hawkins accused Sammut of interrupting him when he spoke and asked Sammut to sit down.

Sammut said he preferred to stand and then presented a chart comparing Mirvac’s performance against its peers highlighting that Mirvac was the “bottom line” of the graph.

Hawkins claimed Sammut had got the numbers wrong and that MacKenzie’s salary had only risen 3% annually since he became chairman rising from $406,000 in the first year rising to $464,000 in the last financial year.

Another long-standing shareholder said he could note vote in favour of MacKenzie given the deterioration of the share prices.

But he said small investors were powerless against the institutional investors and it was a case of “to hell with the shareholders”.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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