Bellamy’s has announced that newly-appointed director and ally of dissident major shareholder Jan Cameron, Sydney lawyer Rodd Peters, will be the company’s new chairman.
The move comes after the board of the infant milk formula group was swept away by investors at a rowdy extraordinary meeting in Melbourne yesterday.
Bellamy’s (BAL) is also bracing for a new class action lawsuit, with Maurice Blackburn tipped to lodge its case this week to join Slater & Gordon, which has also began court action over Bellamy’s missed profit guidance and plummeting share price.
Yesterday’s two-hour shareholder meeting saw two directors ejected from the board while chairman Rob Woolley resigned beforehand and didn’t even bother to turn up.
And with director Launa Inman also stepping down at the EGM, Bellamy’s has been left with a thinned-out board of only three directors.
The remaining Bellamy’s directors are newly-appointed Mr Peters and Asian dairy executive Chan Wai-Chan — both allies of Ms Cameron and nominated by her Black Prince Private Foundation vehicle — and Patria Mann, who was only appointed a Bellamy’s director one year ago and who was returned as a director by shareholders.
As Mr Chan is based in Hong Kong he is unable to chair Bellamy’s, Mr Peters was the obvious pick to take up the role of chair as the board seeks new directors to meet with ASX listing requirements.
Confirming his appointment this afternoon, Bellamy’s said it would announce the appointment of additional directors “in due course”.
Mr Peters is a partner at Sydney law firm Peters Linnette Lawyers and has a specialty in commercial transactions, business structuring and commercial litigation, with an emphasis in the publishing and media industry. He is an adviser to various company boards including the Australian Newsagents Federation of Australia and a compliance committee for a public property trust.
Mr Peters has represented Ms Cameron and her companies in the past and is a representative of the Black Prince Private Foundation, which owns just under 18 per cent of Bellamy’s.
His commercial litigation skills will be especially handy as Bellamy’s faces a slew of class action lawsuits from shareholders.
While dissident leader Ms Cameron yesterday failed to win a place as a Bellamy’s director she delivered a fresh ultimatum to the new board, saying she wants an “action plan” within the next month detailing how it will turn around the fortunes of the food company in the face of collapsing sales and a sliding share price.
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