EDG hits back over director appointment process

October 2, 2023
By Melissa Parker

Endeavour Group Limited (EDG) has found itself amid a debate over the nomination of Bill Wavish as a director.

At the heart of the matter lies the question of whether the process followed by the company aligns with its constitution and ethical governance practices.

Last week EDG’s primary shareholder, Bruce Mathieson Snr, accused the Endeavour board of being an ‘insiders club’, sparking a battle over the nomination of former Myer chairman and Woolworths executive Bill Wavish.

Bill Wavish

Mathieson has expressed that Endeavour’s retail division, encompassing Dan Murphy’s and BWS, is behind the company’s recent slide in share value and is preparing an investor presentation with Wavish, supported by former Woolworths CEO Roger Corbett, aiming to address the challenges in the retailing arm of the business.

The presentation is said to highlight concerns about the retail division being ‘propped up’ by revenues from the hotels division.

Rebutting Mathieson’s claims, EDG Chairman Peter Hearl penned a letter to Bruce Mathieson stating he remains of the view the way Wavish’s nomination as a director is addressed in the Endeavour Group Limited Notice of Meeting is appropriate and correct.

Endeavour Group Limited firmly asserts that the approach taken with Wavish’s nomination as a director is not only appropriate but also consistent with the company’s constitution.

Hearl further points out in his letter to Mathieson, “Your letter asserts that Endeavour’s approach has the consequence that a director candidate could not reasonably expect to be elected without Board endorsement. This is not the case.

“The invitation to Mr Wavish to participate in the recruitment process remains open.”

Addressing concerns that the company’s approach could deter prospective directors, Endeavour Group Limited emphasizes that this is not the case.

“Upon receipt of Mr Wavish’s nomination, relevant Endeavour team members have made themselves available to assist Mr Wavish in obtaining regulatory approvals, and this process is ongoing,” wrote Hearl.

Hearl states in the letter the timing of this process lay within Wavish’s control and “Mr Wavish could have engaged with the company earlier to commence the regulatory approval processes, and he could also have commenced the preparation required for the regulatory approval processes (e.g. obtaining all necessary background information) given these processes are publicly available.”

Endeavour Group Limited says it remains steadfast in its position regarding the nomination of Bill Wavish as a director. The company contends that its actions align with its constitution and established governance practices. The company maintains the open invitation to Wavish to participate in the recruitment process, reflects a commitment to transparency and fair governance and underscores the company’s dedication to acting in the best interests of its shareholders.

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