Gerry Harvey lambastes failed revolt to oust CEO Katie Page
Retailer Gerry Harvey is looking forward to booming sales on Black Friday after staring down a shareholder revolt on "Washout Wednesday".
At today's Harvey Norman AGM, Mr Harvey told shareholders the company had made a $574 million profit that had been driven by sales in its overseas stores.
A bid by proxy advisory firms to oust the company chief executive Katie Page failed spectacularly after she received a re-election vote of more than 90 per cent.
The proxy advisers had been attempting to send the board a message about its governance and successfully voted for a second strike against the renumeration report.
That led to a spill motion against the board that was emphatically rejected by shareholders.
Director Chris Brown said proxy advisory firms had wasted time and money and were "unelected and unregulated" and "do not disclose conflicts of interest".
"Substantial regulation is required similar to that which has been imposed in the UK," he said.
Mr Harvey blasted "agitators" at the company's annual general meeting for "bullshit" claims that independent directors are not independent.
"Suggestions independent directors are not independent because they've been around for over 10 years is absolute bull***t," he said.
"They've been around a long time, they know the company. Why would we discard them?" he said.
"What idiots to make up these non-existent rules. It's such a shame to be forced to distract from the reporting of the business's operations and performance to respond to those who agitate for their own purposes."
Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne lost his 50th attempt to be elected on to the board of a publicly listed company and was roundly lambasted by Mr Harvey for a string of time-wasting questions from the floor.
"The bloke is an idiot," he said. " He buys 25 shares and is allowed to turn up."
Mr Mayne said: "That was the most bruising and abusive AGM I have been involved in over 25 years and 500 meetings."
Mr Harvey concluded the AGM by thanking everyone for coming … "except Stephen Mayne".