Yesterday, the 2019 auDA AGM was held in Melbourne. It was a timid and stage managed affair which officially lasted around 48 minutes (including questions). For those interested, there is an audio stream of the meeting. But be quick – it could be taken down at any time.
Before I review the past “performance and cast”, I very much welcome the new production. I think I speak for a lot of people – including all the decent “back office” staff that are continuing on – when I say that. There is an air of optimism and excitement for the season that lies ahead – particularly given the highly experienced and successful performers that have been appointed.
Some Highlights / Lowlights of the AGM
- I am advised that there was security on the door checking peoples bags for rotten tomatoes and other items capable of being thrown. 😉
- The meeting was introduced by auDA’s new head of Corporate Affairs – Clayton Ford. He has been in the job only a couple of days, but he looks to have an impressive background. I wish him well.
- The departing Chair Suzie Ewart praised the work of her outgoing Board and all that they had achieved. I have to say I did not recognize the organisation she was referring to. Continuing with a theatrical theme, one only has to look back at Board Minutes and press / blog news to see that most audiences have endured a continuing “bad opera” where a lot of the lead performers were to blame.
- At the introduction of General Business (question time), Suzie Ewart made it very clear that she was not going to speak or take any questions about the departure of the previous CEO Cameron Boardman. For a membership organisation, this was poor form in my opinion. You can hear her exact words at 23:05 on the audio stream. If it gets taken down, I have a recording which I will put up.
- Hopefully the new Board will investigate what happened with regards the alleged “fudging” of Boardman’s academic qualifications which enabled him to get the job in the first place. And of course examine why the old Board agreed to pay him out a year’s salary despite being long aware of the issue.
- A couple of members quite rightly queried the voting system for elected directors. The system auDA used (where you can vote negatively) is suitable for an ASX AGM where there are lots of resolutions to be voted on, but was not acceptable for a membership organisation that was simply trying to elect 4 candidates from a field of just six. This resulted in only 3 Directors being appointed instead of four. The domain investor candidate (Christopher Norris) who was put forward by the Nomination Committee came in at 4th position with 48% of the votes was not elected. That’s crazy – and I hope the new Chair and Board look at fixing this quickly. It is vitally important to have industry experience at the top table.
There were a series of Right to Know applications made a couple of days ago. The first lot were supposedly in the name of Christopher Leptos (which was obviously fake). When these were abruptly taken down, they were repeated with a different submitter’s name. In the second lot, there was also one about me. Apart from two, these were also taken down. You can view those here.
I intend addressing all of these in a forthcoming article. It seems plainly obvious that the requests were made by a party or parties with access to confidential Board information. My guess is that there were two people working in concert, and as is their nature, they simply wanted to take revenge and settle scores.
Thank goodness we have a new auDA.
Ned O’Meara – 15th November 2019