Governance news from Minter Ellison

There were a number of board-related articles in the Australian press this week, including on Ian Dunlop’s campaign to acquire a BHP Billiton board seat; the sanctioning by proxy advisers of David Crawford’s re-election to BHP Billiton’s board despite having already served for 19 years; the difficulties surrounding a board’s removal of an underperforming director; the decision by Leighton Holdings’ board to conduct an internal review of alleged kickbacks; and the proposed ASX governance guideline requiring ‘appropriate checks’ for new directors.

Overseas, two Canadian experts have urged boards to adopt a ‘more active role’; an article suggests ways for boards to bridge the gap between directors and shareholders; and the role for boards in senior executive compliance was discussed.

Also this week, board gender diversity received a lot of media attention, with GrainCorp’s chief executive officer calling for greater gender diversity in the agribusiness sector; the chief executive officer of the Australian Coal Association asserting that ‘[q]uotas do a disservice to women’; EY outlining practical steps to increase the representation of women on boards; an academic exploring some of the differences between the Australian and US forces pushing for more women on boards; and the French government announcing plans to effectively punish companies that fail to meet gender equality standards…

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