In a recurrence of wrangling that appeared concluded in 2008, a shareholder in Australia-based construction collaboration technology vendor Aconex has forced an Extraordinary General Meeting in Melbourne on 28 January 2011. The only resolution before that meeting seeks the immediate removal of chairman Martin Hosking as director of the company and was “received on behalf of Ian Baillieu and Hawthorn Glen Pty Ltd, who together hold approximately 5.6% of issued shares in the company”.
According to the EGM notice, Aconex’s Board has unanimously recommended that all shareholders vote against the resolution, arguing that it has already adopted a measured approach to board renewal and succession covering the next 12 to 24 months, that it needs people familiar with the Aconex business and its market, and that the envisaged board renewal will be important in navigating the current period of transition, both corporate and economic.
The notice outlines that all directors intend to oppose the resolution. With support from Francisco Partners (who invested in the company in September 2008; post), this should ensure that they have a majority, ensuring the resolution will not be passed.
Regular readers of this blog may recall that Hawthorn Glen was involved in a protracted year-long legal dispute with the company’s founders that was eventually settled out of court in May 2008 (post), though the company later admitted that the dispute settlement costs and associated legal fees had cost the company almost Au$3.4m (post).
I asked Aconex for a comment and got the following statement from VP Marketing, Frank Carron:
“The Aconex board has been unanimous in its support of Martin Hosking and board members have expressed their intention to oppose the resolution to remove him as a Director (and Chairman) of the company. His leadership of the Board, particularly as it helped the business navigate through two challenging years, has been exemplary. My understanding is that Martin also enjoys significant support across the broader shareholder base, and I would expect this to be reflected in the EGM vote on the 28th.”