WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — At the CBH Group's annual general meeting (AGM) the week of Feb. 28, Diane Smith-Gander will be ratified as a member of the board, the first woman to join the CBH board.
Smith-Gander will take up her appointment as a director with special skills after the formal declaration of directors at the AGM on March 2.
Smith-Gander was appointed as director designate in December 2009 after Lloyd Guthrey, incumbent director with special skills, gave early notice of his intention to retire in March this year following 16 years of service on the boards of the CBH Group and the Grain Pool of Western Australia.
CBH Group Chairman Neil Wandel welcomed Smith-Gander to the board and said she brings a wealth of experience.
"In such a competitive and dynamic business environment, it is vital that we have a range of relevant expertise among our directors," Wandel said. "The contribution that directors with special skills make, and the experience and skill set they bring to the board, is invaluable in complementing the skills of the board's nine grower directors.
"Smith-Gander's extensive experience in senior executive roles and as a company director will be of huge value to the board. I look forward to working with Smith-Gander and all directors as we successfully lead the CBH Group into the future."
Smith-Gander is a director of Wesfarmers, Transfield Services and National Broadbank Network Company, the company set up by the Federal Government to invest up to A$43 billion delivering superfast broadband in Australia. She is also chairman of Basketball Australia, a past director of pieNETWORKS Ltd and a former chairman of the Australian Sports Drug Agency. Her most recent executive roles were as group executive, business and technology, solutions and services at Westpac Banking Corp. and as a partner with McKinsey & Co in the U.S.
Smith-Gander's appointment means CBH is contributing to an increase in the proportion of board positions held by women in major businesses in Australia — a figure that currently sits at only 10%.
Wandel acknowledged the contribution that outgoing director, Lloyd Guthrey has made to the industry during his 16-year tenure.
"On behalf of the board, I take this opportunity to thank Guthrey for the invaluable commercial and financial experience he has brought to the boards of Grain Pool and the CBH Group," Wandel said. "Guthrey played a key role in the success of the 2002 merger of the Grain Pool and co-operative bulk handling and the subsequent growth of the organization into Australia's leading grain handling, storage and marketing business."
Smith-Gander will join incumbent directors, Vern Dempster, Clancy Michael and Wally Newman in the formal declaration of directors at this week's AGM. All three incumbent directors were re-elected to join the board after they nominated for election this year given their three-year terms as a CBH director expire at this year's AGM.
Michael was re-elected last week by shareholders in District 1 — the only district to hold a CBH director election this year. Dempster and Newman were re-elected unopposed in District 2 and District 4 respectively, following the closure of nominations for election on Jan. 10.