Cochlear (COH) 2015 AGM Report

Company/ASX Code : Cochlear Limited (COH)
Venue :
10am ASX Exchange Square Auditorium,
20 Bridge St
Sydney, New South Wales
Monitor : Mr Dan Steiner
AGM Details / NoM : Tuesday 20th October, 2015
# of Attendees : Aproximately 50 shareholders plus 50 visitors
# Holdings represented by ASA : 198
Value of Proxies : $18.1 million
# Shares Represented by ASA : 216,000
Market Capitalisation : $4.83 billion

New CEO and 2 new directors. Expectations for continuing sound results

Chairman Rick Holiday-Smith presented highlights of Cochlear’s strong 2015 financial results including improvements in revenue, unit sales, NPAT, EPS and increased total shareholder returns (i.e. dividends + the higher share price over the year to 30 June 2015). 

Cochlear has appointed a new CEO/President, Chris Smith, from 1 September 2015, replacing highly successful Dr Chris Roberts.  Mr Smith has been with Cochlear for some 11 years and was promoted from President of the Americas.  Mr Smith presented a comprehensive strategy: to grow Cochlear’s core business; to enhance its service business; to shape the organisation and to create more value.  He addressed each of these points in more detail, which shareholders are encouraged to read here.

Mr Holliday-Smith introduced the appointment of two new directors, Alison Deans and Glen Boreham, who outlined their backgrounds and expected contributions to the board.  Ms Deans has a background in digital technology and retail. Mr Boreham has global experience and led IBM Australia for 5 years.  Both were elected at the AGM. Professor Ed Byrne was re-elected to the board, which is expected to be his final term as a director.

The Chairman advised that the board would be undertaking a review of its performance in the current year, including the involvement of an external consultant.  The outcomes would include a review of director’s fees, the identification of another director, who could bring medical expertise needed when long serving director, Professor Byrne, retires.  The AGM agreed to an increase in the total board fee pool to provide for an increase in director’s fees (unchanged since 2011) as well as flexibility for a possible transition in the event of Professor Byrne’s retirement as a director.

The Chairman introduced Ms Sian Neame-Smith, who at age 2 was the first paediatric recipient of a Cochlear implant and at 19 years old she received a 2nd implant.  Her hearing ability gave her capabilities and confidence to complete an honours degree in fashion design.

The ASA congratulated Cochlear on its board renewal process, the appointment of the new CEO, plus recent significant improvements in the readability of its annual report and the company’s expanded and improved website – offering shareholders with more information on its activities.

All resolutions were supported by the ASA and passed on a poll with 98% support.