12.1 C
Byron Shire
July 5, 2022

Fairfax’s plans for life after print

Latest News

Celebrating 40 years of Fig Tree Restaurant

It all started with a simple dream, to convert its original farmhouse in Ewingsdale into a restaurant in which...

Other News

Supply chain pain? Try localisation!

A community screening of Local Futures’ new film, 'Planet Local: A Quiet Revolution', will be held today, Friday, July 1, at The Farm in Byron Bay from 6pm. Damon Gameau and Pacha Light will be joining Helena Norberg-Hodge for a discussion afterwards.

Two confirmed cases of diphtheria in northern NSW

On Saturday evening the North Coast Public Health Unit confirmed that there was a case of diphtheria in a two-year-old child in Northern NSW.

Locals take points in first all-female surf event

Ross Kendall The Le-Ba Ladybirds won the final event of the inaugural, and Australian first, All Women’s Surf Series held...

Australian-first Surf Series and workshops ends in Lennox Head on Sunday

It might be cold outside but that's not stopping women who love to surf and over 100 women and girls will participate in the first female event series in Australia on Sunday at Lennox Head.

Bangalow clinches thriller in rugby derby against Byron Bay

Bangalow beat Byron Bay on the final bell 21–20 in front of a home crowd last Saturday after a...

Destruction of Brunswick Heads mahogany

The foulest crime against the planet was committed secretly in the heart of Brunswick Heads during the pandemic lockdown....

‘Wise with the benefit of hindsight’: Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett

Fairfax chairman Roger Corbett defended his performance, and that of his fellow board members, yesterday morning under fiery questioning at the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne.

Fans of the dead-tree editions of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age will draw little comfort from CEO Greg Hywood’s pronouncement that the digital-only future could be only three years away.

‘We will produce papers so long as there is a profitable demand for them,’ he said. ‘To subsidise the metro business from any other business is not part of our strategy… The future will be predominantly digital rather than print.’

Shareholders speaking from the floor expressed frustration at the company’s recent acquisition of old media assets, its dwindling share price – which has halved in six months to 38 cents – and the poor relations between the board and the company’s largest shareholder, Gina Rinehart.

Around 80 per cent of proxy voters supported the generous remuneration package for Fairfax executives – representing a significant 20 per cent protest vote.

Former Labor politician and veteran Fairfax shareholder Chris Schacht, who described Rinehart as the ‘elephant in the room’, decried the impact of the public stoush between Corbett and the mining magnate on shareholder confidence. He said the company’s performance over recent years had been ‘appalling’. ‘The absolute diminution in shareholder value in this company is extraordinary,’ he said.

Of the opposition to granting Rinehart a seat on the board, Corbett said: ‘This has not been a Roger Corbett issue – this has been a board issue. The board is absolutely unanimous in its position on Mrs Rinehart.’

While praising Rinehart’s success in selling minerals – and welcoming her 14 per cent shareholding – Corbett said allowing her onto the board would not be in the interests of all shareholders.

Stephen Mayne, now a policy officer at the Australian Shareholder Association, read a long extract from a swingeing opinion article on Crikey by Eric Beecher accusing Corbett of ignoring advice about the growth of online advertising. He also pressed Corbett to say whether decisions to acquire the Rural Press stable while selling off shares in the highly profitable Trade Me business were correct in hindsight.

Corbett said he did not recall the incident described by Beecher and that decisions about asset acquisitions and sales were made in the best interests of shareholders at the time. ‘Everyone can be wise with the benefit of hindsight – including you,’ he told Mayne.

While acknowledging the share price is of ‘immense concern’, Corbett was looking on the bright side: ‘Fairfax publications now have more readers than ever before and we are managing the transition of audiences to digital better than almost any newspaper company in the world’.

He said the company had conducted a detailed analysis on the pros and cons of de-merging the company earlier this year – including selling off the metro and radio assets – but this was not judged [to be] in shareholder interests. As for the future, he said: ‘We are not ruling anything out’.

His speech and Hywood’s both drew tepid rounds of applause from the crowd. Shareholders, currently munching on sandwiches while reading free copies of the Newcastle Herald and Border Mail, will vote this afternoon on whether to accept the remuneration report and whether media analyst Peter Cox, who is not supported by the board, should be elected as a director.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Crabbes Creek Woodfired

By V. Cosford There’s a contingent of Europeans who don’t mind travelling a considerable distance in order to stock up on Jon and Gina Hutton’s...

Stone & Wood’s Brewery Festival Returns

Stone & Wood are opening the gates to their Murwillumbah brewery with the return of their ‘Murbah Open Day’, on Saturday 6 August. Welcoming the...

Decades of volunteering earn prestigious NSW Sports Award

Brenda Zakaras and John Beasley from Lennox Head were two of 19 sports volunteers from a wide cross-section of sports who received a Distinguished...

Happy New Year!

We all know we can help the planet by reducing our single-use footprint, so why not make a new (financial) year resolution that’s an...