Questions were asked of the Alliance Group chair and its board at Friday’s annual meeting in Alexandra, Central Otago, in light of the co-operative’s $97.9 million loss in the past financial year.
Several shareholders voiced disquiet about a financial performance that was a $200m turnaround from the previous year’s record profit. Alliance recorded a $116 million profit in the 2022 financial year.
There were suggestions that the board had been found wanting when the market fell dramatically from October last year.
Director Pat McEvedy paid the price, the Canterbury farmer losing his seat in shareholder elections, the results of which were announced on Friday.
Shareholder Peter Baker said Murray Taggart should resign from his roles as chair and director to show leadership in what is a difficult year for Alliance.
Baker said it was not a personal attack but Taggart needs to take responsibility.
“The co-op needs a new leader in these tough times,” Baker said.
Another shareholder reiterated those comments.
Speaking after the meeting, Taggart acknowledged the buck stops with him but said he had been reappointed chair by the board. He welcomed the discussion, which he described as considered, saying such conversations are important for a co-operative.
“The meeting was as expected. Given our poor result, shareholders should be grumpy,” Taggart said.
His chair role will be up for debate again next year but Taggart signalled this will be his last term on the board.