UK: BRAIN FOOD - Speaking out - Kevin Lomax, Chairman, Misys.

UK: BRAIN FOOD - Speaking out - Kevin Lomax, Chairman, Misys. - What is the point of AGMs? None whatsoever if all the board is going to sit there like stuffed dummies. That was the verdict of one disgruntled shareholder at this year's MISYS AGM.

by KHALID AZIZ, e-mail: khalida@azizcorp.com.
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

What is the point of AGMs? None whatsoever if all the board is going to sit there like stuffed dummies. That was the verdict of one disgruntled shareholder at this year's MISYS AGM.

It had all started off quite boringly in the gilt-and-crimson splendour of the Grocers' Hall in the City. Kevin Lomax, chairman of MISYS, rose to address an audience of fewer than 50 shareholders - the tea-and-biscuit brigade, who turn up as much for the hospitality as any interest in the company itself.

Lomax didn't exactly cover himself in glory, reading from a precisely worded script (clearly written by his brokers). There was almost no eye contact with the audience and none from the board, who looked thoroughly shifty. One of them, Tony Alexander, held his head in his hands for much of Lomax's remarks - surely no demonstration of support for his chairman.

But not to worry. Lomax has a languid and laconic style and managed to speak almost without moving his lips. He, and indeed his fellow directors, gave the impression of being more bored than board.

They almost got away with it until Lomax asked for questions. At this point, one disgruntled shareholder, on the matter of re-election of directors, demanded extremely loudly: 'Why was it the board all sat there like stuffed dummies?' It was true that none of them had moved a muscle when their names were called out. Rather sheepishly the first director up for re-election, Tony Alexander, stood up, insisting testily, 'I can assure you, sir, I am not a dummy.' The two others up for re-election were then forced to stand and acknowledge the presence of their shareholders.

Key moment: Mr Angry's question.

Key lesson: Don't take your audience for granted.

Silver tongue or foot in mouth?

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