OUTSIDER Don Macdonald has secured a seat at the Australian Wool Innovation board table, despite failing to receive the influential endorsement of chairman Wal Merriman.
During the industry group’s annual general meeting in Sydney today, more than 245,000 votes were cast to re-elect AWI board members Colette Garnsey and James Morgan, as well as NSW wool broker Don Macdonald.
Mr Macdonald received an impressive 136,384 votes, and came in behind Ms Garnsey, who topped the votes with 205,584.
Mr Morgan received 135,892, which squeezed former board member Paul Cocking out of the running with 128,608 votes, while new candidate Will Wilson, Wool Q chairman, received 74,308.
The strength in Mr Macdonald’s polling follows a campaign by Mr Merriman to elect Ms Garnsey, Mr Morgan and Mr Wilson. The trio campaigned together after receiving the endorsement of the Board Election Committee last month.
In a sign of frustration with how the organisation is being run, Mr Macdonald said he held “a lot of proxies” during today’s board election.
The power of proxies has been the contention of debate recently, after it was revealed Mr Merriman held significant influence in deciding who was elected to the AWI board but was not required to disclose the casting direction of proxies.
AWI received more than $60 million in woolgrower levy funds last financial year and $14.7m in federal government funding.
The industry group reported $106 million in financial reserves.