| ||Statement from the Board of AWB Limited|| ||
The Managing Director of AWB Limited, Mr Andrew Lindberg, has tendered his resignation, which has been accepted by the Board, to be effective on April 30, 2006.
Mr. Lindberg has relinquished his executive responsibilities, effective immediately. The Board thanks Mr Lindberg for his contribution to the Company and for making this decision, believing that it is in the best interests of the Company. Severance arrangements for Mr Lindberg have not yet been decided; once completed they will be publicly announced.
The Board of AWB Limited has today announced a number of initiatives:
The Chairman of AWB Limited, Mr Brendan Stewart, will become Executive Chairman of the Company, effective immediately.
The Board has appointed director Mr Peter Polson as acting Chief Executive Officer. Mr Polson is a very experienced company director with extensive line management and executive experience. In the absence of the Chairman, Mr Polson will be the authorised spokesman for the Company.
A leading international executive search firm, Egon Zehnder has been appointed to conduct a search for a new Chief Executive Officer.
The appointment of Mr Ian Donges as Chairman of AWB International, which holds the wheat export monopoly rights. Mr Donges was elected to the board of AWB (International) Limited in 2001 by the A class shareholders of AWB Limited. He is a Past President of NSW Farmers Association and immediate Past President of the National Farmers Federation. He has represented Australian agriculture at international trade forums including the Cairns Group and APEC.
The establishment of two sub-committees of the Board to assist with the management of the Company:
A stakeholder management committee comprising Mr Christopher Moffet (Chair), Mr John Simpson and Mr Brendan Fitzgerald; Mr Ian Donges seconded from AWB (International) Limited.
A governance committee comprising Mr Peter Polson (Chair), Mr Robert Barry, Mr Tony Howarth and Mr John Schmoll.
The Board of AWB Limited has commissioned its internal auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, to conduct a special review of the design and operation of internal controls around current wheat export sales. The objective of the review is to assist the Board to assess the Company’s systems of control and, where necessary, implement improvements. The Board is committed to ensure that any recommendations made by PricewaterhouseCoopers will be assessed and responded to as quickly as possible.
KPMG has been asked to consider the current governance, internal reporting structures and practices of the Company generally, and their practical application. The Board is committed to ensure that any recommendations made by KPMG will be assessed and responded to as quickly as possible.
The Board reiterates that it is inappropriate to respond to allegations or the evidence given to the Cole Inquiry prior to the completion of the Inquiry.
The Board will take all necessary steps to protect AWB and to restore its reputation.
The Board of AWB Limited reiterates its total commitment to the Australian wheat industry, its growers, the Company, our staff, customers and shareholders.