Stokes’ Seven Group cements Boral hold with two board seats

Billionaire Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group has cemented its position at building materials group Boral with Seven chief executive Ryan Stokes one of two executives from the company joining the Boral board as part of a significant push for renewal.

In a statement to the ASX on Monday morning Boral announced that four new non-executive directors will join its board today including the two from its largest shareholder Seven. They will replace three current Boral board members who have flagged their retirement.

“The appointment of four new non-executive directors and retirement of the three existing directors represents a significant level of board renewal and sets us up well for the future,” Boral chairman Kathryn Fagg said.

Kerry and Ryan Stokes' Seven Group has taken two board seats at Boral.
Kerry and Ryan Stokes’ Seven Group has taken two board seats at Boral.Credit:Melissa Adams

Over the last two years Boral has issued a series of profit warnings, is facing two shareholder class actions in Australia relating to its North American Windows business and its long-term chief executive, Mike Kane, has recently left the role.


Boral reported a $1.14 billion loss for the 2019-2020 financial year, driven down by the hefty impairment.

“After two years as Boral’s chairman I will be seeking shareholders’ support to continue in the role and I will work to provide leadership stability through this period of renewal,” Ms Fagg said.

“We are looking forward to completing the portfolio review that is currently underway, and then re-setting the business to deliver stronger performance and value for shareholders.”

Former CSR chief executive Rob Sindel joins the board, along with former Aurizon chief financial officer Deborah O’Toole.

Seven Group chief financial officer Richard Richards will also join the Boral board in a move widely expected after Seven lifted its stake to just below 20 per cent.

Departing the Boral board after the upcoming shareholder meeting will be John Marlay and Eileen Doyle.

Treasury Wine Estates chairman Paul Rayner will seek re-election to the board at the meeting to “facilitate a smooth transition of the chairmanship of the audit and risk committee and is expected to retire during this next term of office,” Boral said.

Seven Group Holdings owns WesTrac, the Caterpillar excavation and machinery business that is performing strongly on the back of a surging mining industry. It also owns Coates Hire.

In an interview with The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald last month, Ryan Stokes said Seven Group had been watching Boral for about six to 12 months before it began investing in the company earlier this year.

Boral had “uniquely positioned Australian assets”, had potential for value to be unlocked, was involved in sectors such as infrastructure that could deliver strong growth and had experienced a significantly weakened share price, he said at the time.

Boral recently appointed Zlatko Todorcevski as its new CEO.

Shares in the company last traded at $4.29.

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