THE attempt to oust directors of eminent breed society Herefords Australia has failed.
Every one of the 12 resolutions to remove a director on the board presented to an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) at Armidale yesterday was defeated, with one motion not even gaining a seconder.
The overall vote against the removal of directors was around 67 per cent, with around 900 of 2072 eligible votes placed, the majority by proxy.
The result concludes what has been a bitter battle, instigated by a group of members frustrated with a host of issues, the most prominent being big financial losses and a lack of communication from those at the helm.
Far from gloating, those leading the ‘stay’ campaign, have today acknowledged changes in the way information is provided to members must be forthcoming.
That has also been reiterated by Herefords Australia chief executive officer Dr Alex Ball, who took over the post mid-year only to walk straight into one of the most divisive affairs any breed society in the country has faced.
Dr Ball said it was now highly critical Herefords Australia adopt a focus on consulting, and communicating better, with members.
One thing that had been recognised throughout the process was the fact Hereford breeders come from wide and varying locations and the society needed to be more direct in its provision of information, he said.
Transparency and openness would also be a priority and a full transcript of the EGM would shortly be made available to all members as a starting point, he said.
Dr Ball said the focus from now would be firmly on fast-tracking key developments the breed was focussed on.
“We will be transforming our genetic evaluation system towards implementation of genomic predictions, doing a lot of work on how we manage genetic conditions in the breed and improving commercial engagement around MSA (Meat Standards Australia) programs,” he said.
“We will be starting to really gear the Hereford world up for implementation of value based marketing across the beef industry.”
HA chairman Pat Pearce, a breeder from Southern NSW who was firmly in the sights of the campaign to remove directors, said members had now spoken and the matter had been resolved in the boardroom, where it rightly should be.
Campaigners to keep the directors said the entire process, while not pretty for the breed, had in fact served to unify members behind Dr Ball’s visions for taking the breed forward.
Brian Burgess, Ravensdale Poll Herefords at Holbrook, said: “We have the most dynamic CEO in the cattle world and it’s now time to let him get on with job.”
Mr Burgess said some of the points made by campaigners to remove directors were valid “but the way they went about it was wrong and it nearly tore the breed apart.”
Other breeds must have been rejoicing, he said.
“They didn’t care how many people they hurt on the way through and that’s not the Hereford way,” Mr Burgess said.
“But what we’ve seen is that this breed united against the process and those who tried to create division left with their tails between their legs.”
Those in the ‘out’ camp said most members who had attended the EGM left bitterly disappointed.
However, the process was run professionally, they said.
“If that is what Hereford breeders want, they can have it,” one said.
“It will be back to business as usual, with the board continuing along out of tune with corporate governance.”
It seems the infighting in not entirely over, however, with legal action over defamation claims now in the wind.