Australia’s AGL shareholders back Cannon-Brookes board picks


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MELBOURNE — Shareholders in AGL Energy , Australia’s largest power producer, on Tuesday defied their board and approved all four directors proposed by the company’s top shareholder, climate tech billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, proxy votes showed.

Cannon-Brookes, with an 11% stake in AGL, succeeded earlier this year in forcing the company to scrap a demerger and instead announce plans to speed up the closing of its coal-fired power plants by a decade and spend up to A$20 billion on renewable energy by 2036.

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Looking to boost his influence, Cannon-Brookes’ investment vehicle, Grok Ventures, proposed four candidates for AGL’s board: ex-Tesla executive Mark Twidell, former Energy Security Board chair Kerry Schott, John Pollaers and Christine Holman.

All four were approved by AGL’s shareholders, Chair Patricia McKenzie told shareholders at the group’s annual meeting, citing proxy votes, although the board had only endorsed Twidell.

“The Board welcomes these new Directors to the Board and will work constructively with them in the best of interests of shareholders,” McKenzie said.

The board’s first job will be to find a new chief executive to lead the company’s transition to green energy, after Cannon-Brookes’ battle to overhaul the company led former CEO Graeme Hunt to quit.

Adding to its challenges, AGL now faces a potentially beefed-up archrival after last week’s surprise announcement that its spurned suitor, Canada’s Brookfield, has led an A$18 billion bid for Origin Energy, Australia’s No. 2 power producer. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Sam Holmes and Gerry Doyle)


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