2024 AGM Roundup 1

Just Share has attended the following four annual general meetings (AGMs) since 19 January 2024, and asked 21 questions at these AGMs relating to inequality (wage/gender pay gaps and income inequality), diversity and transformation, climate change, and related governance issues:

  • Sasol Limited, 19 January 2024 (rescheduled date after 17 November 2023 AGM was cancelled)
  • Clicks Group Limited, 1 February 2024
  • Coronation Fund Managers, 20 February 2024
  • SPAR Group Limited, 21 February 2024

Our first AGM roundup of 2024 summarises the key issues addressed at these AGMs; offers insights into how they were conducted in light of the return of in-person attendance (with most companies hosting hybrid AGMs); and highlights commitments made by the companies in response to questions asked by Just Share.

In this roundup:

  • Professor Alexander Watson, board chair at Coronation Fund Managers says that climate risk “does not fall within the board’s purview”.
  • SPAR Group struggles to justify paying interim CEO Mike Bosman a guaranteed annualised salary 171% higher than that of his predecessor.
  • SPAR Group commits to paying all head office and distribution centre employees in South Africa a ‘living wage’ of R15 000 per month by 31 December 2025.
  • Sasol, Clicks, and Coronation fail to disclose their employment equity breakdowns and transformation targets.
  • Sasol hosts a pre-AGM Q&A session, but only invites institutional shareholders.
  • Sasol will not commit to pay transparency for the company’s overall South African workforce until this is mandated by law.

AGM governance

Sasol and Coronation held electronic-only AGMs, SPAR held a hybrid AGM (i.e., in-person and electronic attendance permitted) and Clicks held an in-person-only AGM.

Of the three to include electronic attendance, all enabled voice integration, which gave shareholders the option to ask their questions either verbally or in written form. Sasol also enabled video integration, a recent upgrade to the LUMI platform, which gave shareholders the additional choice to appear on video to ask their questions.

Nevertheless, even when this technology is enabled there is still a stark difference between electronic-only and in-person AGMs. In the former, it is far harder to engage meaningfully with the board and executives, not least because they are able to cut off the feed from questioners as it suits them, making it impossible to respond to answers immediately after they have been given. The “queuing” system for questions is also generally poorly managed, meaning that there is no flow in the Q&A session, which is reduced to a sterile question plus response exercise.

We will continue to track compliance with the Companies Act, 2008 and to advocate for hybrid AGMs.

Download the full roundup

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