Like other publicly listed companies, Wesfarmers has made the unavoidable decision this year to make its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 12 November a “virtual” event. The COVID-19 environment and related restrictions means it is simply not feasible or responsible to invite our many shareholders to hear from our Board in person this year and we thank the Federal Government for the legal flexibility it has provided to manage this reality.
However, this decision is particularly disappointing for Wesfarmers. Typically, we hold the largest AGM in Australia, with more than 1,400 people attending in person last year in our home town of Perth. We see our AGM as more than a legal requirement and encourage our shareholders to come along to interact directly with our Board, our Leadership Team and our businesses. Most are relatively small shareholders, many of them retirees who regularly tell us how important their Wesfarmers dividends are to them, and the type of shareholder who has been at the heart of Wesfarmers since it listed in 1984, generally taking a long-term view and supporting us to make decisions and investments which may take some years before they cumulatively add to our sustained performance and reputation.
We have let our more than 487,000 shareholders know that we will be doing everything possible to enable them to easily participate in our virtual AGM if they wish. As advised in our Notice of Meeting, they will still be able to vote and ask questions either before or during the meeting. We also have plenty of information on our website here to guide them through the process, including those who are not confident using online technology.