Investors not coffin up for corporate afterlife

Investors not coffin up for corporate afterlife

A burning candle with a coffin and a flower arrangement on the background in a mortuary generic funeral photo: candle, coffin and flowers Photo: FairfaxAustralia’s biggest funeral services provider, Invocare, is in the business of taking care of the business of the “departed”, and it is good to see the ASX-listed group’s board is taking this vocation seriously.
Nanjing Night Net

One of the resolutions that will be presented to investors at this Friday’s shareholder meeting asks them to give the board a rubber stamp for the “approval of potential termination benefits” if a senior executive happens to have, well, departed.

Corporations law requires that a company get investor permission for any termination payout that is more than an executive’s fixed annual pay packet.

As the Australian Shareholders Association points out, the board is seeking a three-year pass instead of coming to investors on a case-by-case basis. Needless to say, the ASA is opposing this, along with the remuneration report and another granting performance rights to the chief executive, Martin “Wyatt” Earp.

It is all part of aligning the interests of executives and investors, according to the Richard Fisher-led Invocare board.

It wants to allow the vesting of performance rights post-employment if an executive’s termination has been deemed a “good departure”.

It says the rationale is to keep long-term incentives active – rather than shut them down upon the executive’s departure – to ensure they are “motivated to make decisions that will deliver long-term sustainable value for shareholders”.

The interesting bit is that “good departure” does not include an executive resigning to go to a better place. Instead, it covers a situation where one of its head undertakers retires, takes a bona fide redundancy or – heaven forbid – dies.

The latter, of course, represents a potentially tactful business opportunity for Invocare, which reported double-digit earnings growth last year despite “a lower than expected level of demand”. Wait in line

Sure, James Packer owns half of Crown Resorts, but the board has made clear it will not be playing favourites.

A Crown release to the ASX on Thursday announced that Packer has received all appropriate regulatory approvals needed for the billionaire to rejoin the board.

And he will rejoin the board – at the appropriate juncture.

“Mr Packer’s application for appointment as a director will be considered by the Crown Resorts board at its June or August board meeting,” said the statement from Crown’s board, led by Packer lieutenant John Alexander.

No rush, huh?

Packer must be breathing a sigh of relief, though, given the China crisis and the probe into gift-giving to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli press have been reporting that charges are expected to be made within months. While there is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Packer, the close association with Netanyahu has not helped. The big stage

Former child actor and current Commonwealth Bank boss Ian Narev has been preparing for his big role of the year – announcing the Sydney Theatre Company’s results at its annual general meeting on Thursday evening.

As STC chairman, Narev reported that the consolidated group result – “including monies received towards capital raising” – was $2.31 million for last calendar year.

It “was a very strong year across our four stages and beyond”, said Narev, who spoke of highlights such as the Louis Nowra masterpiece The Golden Age.

The production might even have matched Narev’s starring role in Kiwi kiddies’ drama Children of Fire Mountain.

“This is a company of talented and dedicated people united by the common purpose of supporting the ambition, invention and success of Australian theatre-makers,” said Narev.

STC was supported by Malcolm Turnbull’s government through the Australia Council, but at least Narev doesn’t have to worry about Treasurer Scott Morrison hitting him with a super profits tax in return for this support.

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