Boardroom board tussle concludes: Blackmores’ chair successfully retains seat with 60% vote

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Blackmores had its AGM last week where shareholders five directors into the board. ©Getty Images
Blackmores had its AGM last week where shareholders five directors into the board. ©Getty Images

Related tags Blackmores Australia Complementary medicines

ASX-listed Blackmores has concluded its highly-watched AGM, with board chair Anne Templeman-Jones securing her seat with 60.40 per cent of votes.

George Tambassis, who was hugely supported by the company’s largest shareholder Marcus Blackmore, garnered 44.24 per cent of votes and was not voted into the board.

Tambassis is the non-executive director of the Australian Pharmaceuticals Industries (API) and is also the partner of Priceline Pharmacy, Tullamarine Pharmacy, and Vermont South Pharmacy. 

Four other candidates, who joined the board in either April or September this year, managed to retain their place with over 98 per cent votes each. 

The AGM took place on Wednesday (October 27) at 11am Sydney time.

Stephen Roche, who joined the board last month, led the polls with 99.10 per cent of the shareholders voting in favour of him. 

Roche is currently the MD of Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand. He previously served as the deputy chairman at the National Pharmaceutical Services Association and was also the CEO and MD of the Australian Pharmaceutical Industries.

The election had proceeded against the backdrop of disagreements between Blackmore and Templeman-Jones over their choice of directors. 

Blackmore had publicly expressed his support for Tambassis while two letters signed off by Templeman-Jones were wrote to the shareholders to recommend them to vote against Tambassis.

“This process of board renewal has been and often is complex. It is about finding the balance between depth and breadth of skills, between different perspective and ensuring a stable and cohesive collaborative team.

“We have sought to add to the skills and expertise relevant to our changing international market landscape, increasing complexity to our markets, operations and customers, and to support our executive team’s role in steering a course through them,” ​Templeman-Jones said during the AGM.

Digital capabilities

During the AGM, CEO Alastair Symington announced that Blackmores would make strategic investment in digital commerce capabilities, due to the growing importance of e-commerce for VMS sales.

“More vitamins are sold online today than before COVID-19 to progressively younger, more informed and diverse consumers.

“Today, more than 27 per cent of our sales are online and we are projecting this number will be greater than 40 per cent by 2024.

“To better serve this emerging group, we have been actively recruiting talent and building capabilities that are more in tune with today’s consumers while planning for the shift in shopper needs and behaviours,” ​Symington said.

Cultural customisation

On the other hand, Symington also said that the company would be making efforts to meet the specific needs of different markets. 

Four markets were named as growth opportunities, namely Indonesia, China, India, and pet nutrition.  

In fact, revenue from Asia is now over 51 per cent of Blackmores’ revenue, according to Symington.

As part of its efforts to meet local needs, the company has introduced halal certified products in Indonesia and Singapore.

“An important first step in our cultural customisation strategy has been the certification of our product range by MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia).

“We understand that halal assurance is incredibly important to consumers in Indonesia and across the region. MUI is one of the world’s strictest standards for halal and the only certification recognised by the Indonesian regulator BPOM (Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan).”

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