Big Wal's gone with two new faces on AWI board

Merriman era over as Humphries and Henderson voted onto AWI board


Wal Merriman's stint on the Australian Wool Innovation board has been ended by a shareholder vote.


Wally Merriman has been voted off the board of Australian Wool Innovation.

The former chairman lost his seat at today's AWI annual general meeting in Sydney, ending a sometimes controversial 15-year stint on the board.

Mr Merriman was given a standing ovation after AWI chairman Colette Garnsey thanked him for his long service.

New board members are Michelle Humphries, a sheep veterinarian and owner of Livestock Breeding Services at Jerilderie, and Noel Henderson, a Merino stud breeder from Sidonia, Victoria.

Dr Humphries topped the vote with 166,140 votes for and 95,549 against.

Western Australian sheep breeder and businessman, David Webster, retained his seat by finishing second in the poll with 159,465 votes for and 129,997 against.

Mr Henderson recorded 139,370 votes for and 129,997 against.

Mr Merriman received 146,398 in favour his re-election but a telling 152,855 against.

He congratulated the new board members and wished them well.

"I am proud to have been part of a team that has introduced marketing to AWI which has more than doubled the wool price from 750 cents a kilogram (2004) to 2110c (2018).

"The shareholders have spoken and this new board can now go forward knowing they have the support of shareholders," Mr Merriman said.

The meeting attracted about 70 people to the Amora Hotel in the middle of bushfire smoke-filled Sydney.

AWI chairman, Colette Garnsey, announced she was holding 19,949 undirected proxies, a relatively small number which indicated shareholders wanted to make their votes count.

The AWI is under increasing budget pressure because of reduced levy income and its board this week agreed to take another $7.5 million out of its reserves, taking the total drawdown to $29m in 2019-20.

The latest wool production report has downgraded the size of the 2019-20 clip to 272 million kilogram, down from the previous estimate of 285 million kg.

The story Big Wal's gone with two new faces on AWI board first appeared on Farm Online.


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