Shareholders are being encouraged "get the balance right" when they cast their preferred director votes in the the upcoming annual general meeting of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).
Former AWI director of 12 years and co-founder of Medical Ethics Doctor Meredith Shiel believes what makes a strong and effective board is a variety of skill sets and gender balance.
"Marketing, research and development (R&D) and genuine woolgrowers are needed to form a balanced board," Dr Shiel said.
"Wool is the bread and butter for woolgrowers so they provide the grounding, the kicking of the tires, the fact-checking and often an opinion of "how is all this highfalutin stuff going to play out on-farm?"
"It is also really important for the stability of the board to have that broad woolgrower support - as long as you have woolgrowers on the board that have genuine broad support."
And she revealed during her time on the board, cracks started to show when that support base divided.
But she also credited a successful board to include someone from the wool supply chain, albeit often battling situations in which concerns or aims were incompatible.
"I did think it was valuable having someone from the wool supply chain - whether that be a broker or a processor," Dr Shiel said.
"But it is always a bit of a struggle for somebody in that role, just managing conflicts of interest.
"Everyone on the board has different interests. That was one of the other things that during my time on the board we implemented very clear policies for managing conflicts of interests."
Dr Shiel said outgoing director and former chair, Colette Garnsey will be sorely missed.
"The advantage of having Colette on the board to the company and woolgrowers was immeasurable - she is going to be an enormous loss," Dr Shiel said.
"Apart from her marketing experience being critical, I also think it is important to have a balance of men and women.
"The advantage of having female voices on the board is it brings a different perspective to a lot of issues and provides balance.
"The role of the board is to oversee. You can have great talent in your marketing team, but the board is overseeing its direction and efficiency."
She said Ms Garnsey also provided a high level of executive corporate experience - a skill that people may not have been aware of.
"The skills matrix when I sat on the board was really sought to ensure that we did get that good balance of skillset across a range of people," she said.
Wool is the bread and butter for woolgrowers so they provide the grounding, the kicking of the tires, the fact-checking- Dr Meredith Shiel
"In my opinion a strong board would be made up of three really strong woolgrowers that not only have got a lot of grower support, but also a lot of business acumen and a lot of 'on the ground' knowledge.
"A marketing expert, an R&D expert, and possibly someone from the wool supply chain."
AWI is encouraging all shareholders to participate through one of two ways.
Voting can be done by filling out the form mailed to shareholders last month or via lodging a proxy online.
The AGM will be held on Friday November 19, with proxy voting closing 48 hours prior on Wednesday November 17 at 10.00am (AEDT).
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