Shares of Guinness Peat Group sank today after the investment company sacked long-serving New Zealand executive director Tony Gibbs after a board rift over strategy culminated in his unauthorized public statement criticizing a demerger plan.
In early trading the shares were down down 7.4 percent to 63c, after chairman Ron Brierley announced Gibbs had been dumped for a “serious breach of boardroom protocol.”
The decision was made “with much sadness but was unavoidable,” Brierley said in a statement which signaled the end of a personal association with Gibbs that goes back more than 20 years.
Gibbs said he was “fired for telling the truth” in his statement objecting to the investment company’s plan to spin off its Australian assets. GPG announced the proposal on June 16, giving its long-suffering shareholders some idea how it planned to return value to investors, an idea it first mooted before the global financial crisis. His stance may have provoked some action, though, as Brierley also announced that three independent directors would be appointed with a key role in reviewing strategy.
I am surprised that an experienced company director such as Tony Gibbs would fail teh most basic tenet of governance.
A Director can never criticise in public decisions made by the Board. Even if you voted against them, you are expected to represent the Board’s collective view in public.
If you are unable to do that, then the proper response is to resign from the board.
What you can not do, is attack the Board’s decision and think you can remain a director. A company board is not like an incorporated society when directors can disagree in public.Tags: GPG, Tony Gibbs