The issue

Ardent Leisure Group Limited sought approval for three proposals, including their remuneration report and the re-election of an independent director at their AGM. At the time of announcing the AGM agenda, the company was one of the few ASX 200 companies that had an all-male board.  This was inconsistent with our gender diversity expectations for developed markets of at least 30% minimum female board representation.  Although the company had one female board member earlier in year, she had relinquished her role in May.  The company had also again participated in the Australian federal government’s JobKeeper scheme, which had provided payroll support to companies which had experienced significant financial losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, it had still paid short term incentive (STI) bonuses to key management personnel for the year.

The outcome

The key positive outcome linked to our voting policy was the company’s public acknowledgement and action to improve female representation on the board. 

All proposals were passed at the meeting; however, the remuneration report received 38% against of votes cast and received a first strike. We will continue our engagements with the company on diversity, remuneration and broader sustainability issues in the coming year.