Ten boss Paul Anderson hopes this AGM provides less drama than its shows

Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch used the 2012 AGM to dress down management. Photo: Michel O’Sullivan Gina Rinehart made a splash at the 2012 Ten AGM Photo: Nic Walker
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Former boss Hamish McLennan (left) has gone. Photo: Rob Homer

For years now, some of the best drama produced by the Ten Network was generated by its annual general meeting.

It is with some sadness that CBD has to admit, this week’s effort may fall short of the high standards set since the billionaire gang came to town.

Who could forget the sight of Gina Rinehart making her late, dramatic entrance to the 2012 meeting in a leopard print and pearls.

And to be fair, Ten’s billionaires had collectively torched $600 million in less than two years, so corporate wardrobe be damned.

That meeting also featured chairman Lachlan Murdoch publicly dressing down his recently appointed CEO, James Warburton, after some shows tanked in a manner which was pretty spectacular even by Ten’s standards.

CBD dimly recalls that one of them featured a network star by the name of Sarah Murdoch.

Your columnist can still feel the burn from the steam coming out of Warburton’s ears during the tea and bikkie break. This was soon followed by his abrupt departure.

For extended drama, there was always the slow evolution of the very hands-on Lachlan.

First, shooting successive CEOs over their silly strategies for the network. Implementing his own silly strategy. Shooting another CEO for implementing his strategy.

And then employing a new CEO to implement what the original executive team were trying to do.

Hamish McLennan has since fallen on his sword – to further the cause of the Murdoch clan as it takes control of Ten via Foxtel.

It is interesting to note that the high turnover of executive talent may provide the source of the only real drama at this year’s AGM.

As the massive payout to McLennan shows, having such a trigger happy board comes at a cost.

Item nine on the agenda for this year’s AGM is a resolution for the “approval of potential future termination benefits”.

Canny investors would know that a company does not need shareholder approval for termination pay of up to 12 months salary. Ten’s board basically wants investors to give them carte blanche on payouts to any future boss whose tenure ends abruptly.

And let’s face it, given the recent track record at Ten, the latest boss, Paul Anderson, might want a little certainty on the pay front when media laws change and Rupert Murdoch comes marching in the front door.  Property play  

The next big test for our rapidly cooling property market – following the underwhelming float of John McGrath’s real estate shop last week – is due to hit the ASX on Tuesday.

Having raised $5 million at 20c a share,  property investment app, Real Estate Investar, hits the market with the backing of CBD publisher, Fairfax Media, which is obviously why Domain boss, Anthony Catalano, is on the board.

Then there, is former REA Group boss, Simon Baker.

Baker, who is the chairman, has some real skin in the game with more than 11 million shares – roughly 13 per cent of the company – followed closely by Fairfax.

Catalano has 500,000 options with an exercise price of 20c which expire by the end of 2020, same as fellow board member, Joseph Hanna. Not so EZ

There has been no let up for the Aussie running Texan-based pawn broker, EZ Corp.

EZCorp’s failure to file its second-quarter financial accounts earlier this year, due to problems from its Mexican accounting department, has now delayed the release of its annual report which was due this week.

Former Myer CFO, Mark Ashby, is working overtime to ensure the report is out before Santa starts his rounds, according to his boss, former Bank of Queensland boss, Stuart Grimshaw.

“The restatement filing took longer than we anticipated, and losing that time put us behind in the process to finalise the year-end accounts and prepare and file the Annual Report,” said Grimshaw.

The company – which owns a controlling stake in Aussie pawn shop, Cash Converters – said it “currently expects” to file its Annual Report around December 21.

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