Leighton Chairman And Two Board Members Walk Over Independence Row

After a breakdown in relations with the company’s major shareholder, the chairman and two members of Leighton Holdings’ board have quit.

Shares in Leighton were down $1.52, or 7% to $20.18 at 1.39pm this afternoon.

Chairman Stephen Johns, along with non-executive directors Wayne Osborn and Ian Macfarlane, who is an ex-Reserve Bank of Australia governor, have all walked.

Leighton said that the reasons behind the departures are that the three of them don’t think major shareholder Hochtief, a German construction company, wants an independent board, and that there had been a “breakdown in relations.”

Leighton’s current agreement with Hochtief is that the company needs to run under an independent board.

This has contributed “substaintally” to the value created for Leighton’s 57,000 shareholders, the company said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The current arrangements with Hochtief are expected to continue.”

Now the board will meet as soon as possible to elect a new chairman.

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