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GPG appoints new independent directors, one resignation

Investment company Guinness Peat Group has announced four new independent directors to oversee a restructure that includes spinning off the Australian division.Mike Allen, Rob Campbell, Mark Johnson and Gavin Walker are to join the board immediately and w

Duncan Bridgeman
Wed, 22 Sep 2010

Investment company Guinness Peat Group has announced four new independent directors to oversee a restructure that includes spinning off the Australian division.

Mike Allen, Rob Campbell, Mark Johnson and Gavin Walker are to join the board immediately and will seek re-election at the next annual meeting in May 2011.

Ron Langley has resigned as a director, giving the independents a majority on the board, which also includes chairman Sir Ron Brierley, Garry Weiss and Blake Nixon.

Institutional investors were seeking genuine independents after GPG announced a plan to spin off its Australian assets to a new company to be managed by Mr Weiss.

Former New Zealand director Tony Gibbs initially supported the plan but then broke ranks with the board and publically denounced the proposal.

He was then forced off the board while keeping his directorship of GPG’s key New Zealand assets Turners & Growers and Tower.

The four new non-executive directors have plenty of experience between them.

Mr Allen is chairman of PGG Wrightson Finance and his directorships include Godfrey Hirst NZ, the Retirement Villages Group, Tainui Group and NZ Windfarms. He has 25 years' experience in investment banking.

Mr Campbell is a director and investment committee chair of ACC and director and audit and risk committee member of Aquasure Pty. He is also a board or advisory board member of several private equity and hedge funds globally.

Mr Johnson has been a director of several Australian publicly listed companies, including previous deputy chairman of Macquarie Bank from September 2000 to March 2007. He is chairman of AGL Energy and as a non-executive director of Westfield Group.

Mr Walker is a director of the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation Fund, ASB Bank and ASB Life and Lion Nathan National Foods Pty. Previously Mr Walker has been a director of BT Investment Management, Goodman Fielder, Veda Advantage, AMP New Zealand Advisory Board and chairman of the Foreign Direct Investment Advisory Board.

Sir Ron said in a statement the new directors appointed were of the highest calibre and added significant depth and strength to the GPG board.

The four new directors will also join an independent sub-committee of the board to evaluate the future of GPG.

Goldman Sachs & Partners Australia and Greenhill Caliburn, the joint financial advisers to GPG, will assist the sub-committee in its role.

“The sole focus of the GPG board remains maximising value for shareholders,” Sir Ron said.

Duncan Bridgeman
Wed, 22 Sep 2010
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GPG appoints new independent directors, one resignation
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