Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Bid to oust JSE directors fizzles

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder
The Jamaica Stock Exchange in Kingston, scene of the company's annual general meeting on Thursday, where an attempted board shake-up failed.

An orchestrated but, in the end, under-supported bid by some shareholders to remove long serving board members of the Jamaica Stock Exchange Limited, the JSE Group, failed last Thursday, with all directors who were eligible for re-election returned.

The only exception was director-broker Mark Croskery who had advised prior to the annual general meeting held on Thursday that he would be giving up his seat.

At the meeting, minority activist Orrett Staple called for the JSE Group board to include directors who were younger and had "fresher ideas", as well as term limits that would restrict the period of service for directors.

JSE Deputy Chairman Gary Peart, who led the meeting in the absence of Chairman Ian McNaughton, yielded to the urgings of a small group for individual votes on returning directors.

Director Derrick McKoy pointed out that a fellow director, Bank of Jamaica deputy governor Livingstone Morrison, had already served "well beyond nine years". But he later told the Financial Gleaner that he was only pointing out a procedural issue to the chair, and was not demanding that Livingstone's re-election be put to a vote.

The annual general meeting which started at 1 p.m. was suspended two hours later in preparation for the vote. The poll closed at around 6:30 p.m. with the slate of directors unchanged.

In the end, the meeting voted to return Livingstone Morrison, Lynval Garth Kiddoe, Janet Morrison, Julian Mair, Mathew Hogarth and Christopher Zacca as directors.

The other board members whose positions were not subject to resolution at the AGM were chairman Ian McNaughton, Derrick McCoy, Devon Barrett, deputy chairman Gary Peart, Lissant Mitchell, Steven Whittingham, Steven Gooden, JSE Group managing director Marlene Street Forrest, independent directors Dian Black and Jane George and company secretary Roxanne Hutchinson.

The Financial Gleaner canvassed brokers at the meeting on why the board shake-up was sought but none would go on the record.

Staples, who demanded seats for younger directors, declined to say what difference he expected them to make on the board.

A member of the JSE management commented, on condition of anonymity, that the objectives of the revolt seemed contradictory.

"Everybody [on the board] is young, so it contradicts what is being said. This is one of the youngest boards in Jamaica," the person asserted.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com