The Myer board of directors has been hit with a second strike

Rob Elliott/AFP/Getty Images
  • The tide has turned against the Myer board of directors with a vote at the AGM against the remuneration report.
  • This is the second year in a row that more than 25% of votes have gone against the report.
  • However, a spill motion to declare all director positions was defeated.

Myer was hit with a second strike against its remuneration report at its annual general meeting.

A vote of 25% or more against a remuneration report for a second year in a row means a spill of director positions.

Shareholders were told at the AGM in Melbourne that proxies were showing a vote against the remuneration report running at 37.49%.

“We respect the message from shareholders,” said Myer Chairman Garry Hounsell.

However, a subsequent motion to spill all director positions was voted down, with 63% against.

Myer shares were up 9.3% to $0.47.

Here are the numbers for proxies:

Screenshot from Myer AGMIndicative proxy votes for Myer. (Myer AGM)

Retail veteran Solomon Lew has been campaigning to replace the “failed” Myer board following a collapse of the share price and falling sales.

Lew’s company Premier Investments — which has children’s stationery chain Smiggles and pyjama label Peter Alexander, plus Just Jeans, Portmans, Dotti, Jay Jays and Jacquie-E — is the largest shareholder with 10.8% of Myer.

Premier voted in favour of CEO John King’s options being granted. Lew says none of Myer’s ills are the fault of King.

However, he says Myer shareholders have suffered too long.

“I see the removal of the current Myer Board as the crucial circuit-breaker the company needs,” he says.

“No-one can have any confidence in the current Myer Board, which has handed the keys to the company over to the banks after running it into the ground.”

Among those asking questions at the AGM was Jeremy Leibler, a partner at Arnold Bloch Leibler which represents Premier Investments.

Leibler, who says he also has more than 5000 proxy votes, referred to an aware letter from the ASX following a sharp fall in the share price.

The Australian Shareholders Association voted in favour of the remuneration report.

“We believe that the level of remuneration is not excessive, the incentives are generally aligned with shareholders, and the reporting is adequate,” the association says.

In September, Myer posted a 52% fall in underlying annual net profit to $32.47 million as the department’s store’s strategy to resurrect growth crumbled. Revenue fell 3% to $3.1 billion and sales were down 2.7% on a comparable store basis.

The company has been cutting costs, ditching managers and executives, negotiating rent reductions and renegotiating its loan deal with banks.

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