Tabcorp governance survives investor AGM backlash

Tabcorp Holdings governance has survived a bruising annual general meeting (AGM), in which the firm’s corporate governance and executive leadership were questioned by frustrated investors of the ASX-listed gambling group.

AGM voting saw 35% of Tabcorp shareholders oppose the re-election of Paula Dwyer as corporate chairman, extending her tenure for a further two-years.

Further investor upheaval saw 37% of Tabcorp shareholders disapprove of the performance of David Attenborough as company Chief Executive.

Australian business news sources report that Tabcorp investors would only approve the firm’s remuneration report following significant cuts to board fees and having diluted the firm’s executive bonus scheme.

The amendments see Tabcorp governance avoid a further year in which its investors move against the firm’s executive pay scheme, angered by the company delivering little shareholder value from its AUS $11 billion merger with main market rival Tatts Group.

Concluding the AGM, Dwyer noted ‘investor anxieties’ but maintained confidence in Tabcorp’s new executive team delivering on its ‘complex post-merger integrations’.

“We’re sticking to the plan,” she said. “We’ve always said it’d come to life in 2021, and it will. I think people are just anxious to get that accelerated where it can be.”

Dwyer underlined that the firm maintains its target of delivering $130 to $145 million a year in cost savings by 2021.

Last August, Dwyer – who has served as a Tabcorp director since 2005 – confirmed that she would end her tenure of Chair of ASX gambling group by 2021.

Publishing the firm’s 2018/2019 accounts, under pressure CEO David Attenborough would deny rumours that lead investor Perpetual had demanded that Tabcorp split its lottery and keno assets forming a separate business entity.

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