LIC has been named as the Cooperative Business of the Year.
The chairman’s fees will rise by $1725 to $116,725; each of the nine directors will be paid $48,212, a rise of $712.
Recommending the rise to shareholders in the notice of annual meeting, the LIC honoraria committee says the role and business of LIC differs from those of other companies.
It says the speed of technology change, mergers and acquisitions and the international markets all bring risk and complexities to the business; health and safety, listing rules and financial market legislation also have a big impact on the business and responsibilities of an LIC director.
“It is imperative that LIC maintains a high-calibre of director on its board particularly as it enters a period of significant change for the company,” the committee says.
“Elected directors bring a strong understanding of the cooperative shareholder base and the New Zealand market, and appointed directors bring skills in international markets, merger and acquisitions, health and safety, technology, finance and risk and complex business.”
The committee agreed an increase in the base honoraria for the LIC chair and directors would be appropriate because no rise had been granted the directors for two years; to maintain parity with other organisations the committee recommended the increase, though it “acknowledged the current economic environment dairy farmers are facing”.
The committee also reviewed the shareholder council chair’s remuneration, recommending a rise of $2500 to $27,500.
It noted that the LIC shareholders council differs from the Fonterra shareholders council, and is unique in how it represents LIC’s 10,400 co-op shareholders.
“In recent times the role of the shareholders council chair has increased significantly and is now more in line with the workload of a Fonterra councillor.
“In particular, the review of LIC’s capital structure has increased the council chair’s involvement on behalf of shareholders. So an increase of $2500 pa in the council chair’s honoraria is appropriate.
“Councillors, in particular the chair, spend much time away from their own businesses when a constant focus is required in tight times.”
There is no change to fees paid to the deputy chair and councillors.
The annual meeting will also vote on a one-year extension to the term of appointed director Phil Lough.
Lough joined the LIC board in 2002; he chairs the remuneration and appointments committee and the recently established capital structure review committee. The board and shareholders council have recommended Lough’s re-appointment so they can utilise his expertise and experience in business restructure and transformation and to retain his knowledge of LIC and its current structures, the need for LIC to transform how it operates and the review of LIC’s capital structure.
Lough is a former deputy chief executive of the NZ Dairy Board and chief executive of the Sealord Group. He is now a professional director. He has worked in the dairy industry in roles including farm ownership, executive roles in dairy businesses and as a director.
Lough is currently chair of Methven Ltd and Port of Nelson Ltd; he has also been a director of a number of companies.
The annual meeting will be held at LIC on Wednesday, October 19, starting 10.30am.