Push for Antony Catalano to return to lead Domain

Push for Antony Catalano to return to lead Domain
Push for Antony Catalano to return to lead Domain

The billionaire Melbourne investor Alex Waislitz says many shareholders in real estate website company Domain want the recently departed Antony Catalano back as its chief executive.

He said he was disappointed Catalano, who resigned unexpectedly last month, was not still its boss, adding his confidence in the overall leadership of Fairfax and Domain has been "dented".

He also suggested Nick Falloon should not be chairman of both Fairfax and Domain.

Waislitz offered himself to mediate some sort of rapprochement between Catalano and Fairfax management.

"Many of the investors I have spoken to, in light of the limited amount of information that has been made available publicly about [Mr Catalano's] behaviour, would say they would be happy to have him back," Mr Waislitz told The Australian Financial Review.

"I think Catalano has proven himself to be the best person to run the business at this point in time. I don't know who the candidates are that they are interviewing. Could he come back? I'm not sure. 

"Would he come back? I'm not sure."

The activist investor via his private investment group Thorney had been a close friend to Catalano.
Waislitz said he had sold some Domain stock since Catalano's resignation on January 22. 

"We have reduced our position over the last few months, and including since he left. We will be driven by the information that comes out. We may sell more, we may buy more. We are keeping our options open.

"I'm very disappointed [Mr Catalano] is not there because he was [the] driver. On the other hand, he built a great team and the company will go on regardless. Obviously there are details that are still to come out.

"I think wiser heads should be involved; other directors of the boards of Fairfax and Domain should get involved in the discussion, take the emotion out of it, take some of the egos out of it and come up with sensible way to end this that allows the company to go on and grow."

Domain reported a half-year operating profit of $56.8 million earlier this week.

Its shares are down about 10 per cent since the beginning of January.  

Domain Fairfax

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